Pharmaceutical Grade Chondroitin Sulfate As First-Line Treatment of Osteoarthritis Interview with:

Jean-Yves Reginster M.D.,PH.D. Professor of Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Economics Head of the Bone and Cartilage Metabolism Unit University of Liège

Dr. Reginster

Jean-Yves Reginster M.D.,PH.D.
Professor of Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Economics
Head of the Bone and Cartilage Metabolism Unit
University of Liège What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Whereas several recommendations, issued by scientific societies, recommend to use Symptom-Modifying Slow Acting Drugs (SYSADOAs) for the symptomatic and structural management of osteoarthritis, no medication is currently registered, in this particular indication, by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This study is the first study, conducted, with a SYSADOA which fully complies with the requirements of the EMA for the assessment of drugs to be used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, i.e. a six-month duration, two co-primary endpoints (pain and function) and a three-arm design, with a placebo and an active comparator. The main findings are that pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate provides an improvement in pain and function, which is greater than placebo and not distinguishable from celecoxib, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug currently licensed for the symptomatic management of osteoarthritis. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The key message is that pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate is a safe and effective first-line treatment of osteoarthritis. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It would be interesting to see whether pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate provides a similar benefit at other joints (e.g. hands or spine) and if a combination of pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate and patented crystalline glucosamine sulfate provides an additional benefit compared to pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate alone. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The results obtained with pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate, should not be extrapolated to all the other forms of chondroitin (i.e. Over-The-Counter or generic products). There are important differences in pharmaco-dynamics/pharmaco-kinetics between these products which might impact on their ability to reduce the cartilage catabolism and inflammation. I was the principle investigator of that particular trial which was funded by IBSA, the pharmaceutical company which currently markets pharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Reginster J, Dudler J, Blicharski T, et al
Pharmaceutical-grade Chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib and superior to placebo in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: the ChONdroitin versus CElecoxib versus Placebo Trial (CONCEPT)
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Published Online First: 22 May 2017. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210860

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on May 23, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD