MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jos Runhaar, PhD
Department of General Practice
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Most international guidelines report an overall lack of efficacy of glucosamine for osteoarthrits. We however know that it is a very heterogeneous disease. Therefore, it is possible that there are certain subgroups of osteoarthritis patients that actually might have effect from glucosamine; for instance subgroups based on different pathologies underlying the clinical presentation, different co-morbidities, or different disease stages.
For investigating efficacy in subgroups large sample sizes are needed, and certain methodological techniques are necessary, to get a valid and robust answer. Several years ago, a group of renowned international osteoarthritis researchers started the OA Trial Bank especially for investigating these subgroup effects of osteoarthritis treatments and collect individual patient data of worldwide-performed intervention studies in osteoarthritis patients. When using the individual patient data of multiple studies, it brings us the large sample size and allows us to use the right methods. We do these subgroup analyses in the OA Trial Bank for many different interventions, not just for glucosamine. The subgroup analyses for glucosamine and for corticosteroid injections are published, the others are ongoing (for instance exercise, orthoses and topicals) or planned and still waiting for funding.