HealthDay News — For patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), chondroitin sulfate (CS) is associated with additional benefits in terms of cartilage volume loss (CVL) compared with celecoxib, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

Jean-Pierre Pelletier, MD, from the University of Montreal, and colleagues examined the disease modifying effect of CS treatment versus celecoxib on CVL in knee OA in a two-year randomized controlled trial. Symptomatic primary knee OA patients were treated with CS (1,200 mg/day) or celecoxib (200 mg once/day) for 24 months.

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In the intention-to-treat population, the researchers found that, compared with celecoxib-treated patients, those treated with CS had a reduction in CVL at 12 and 24 months in the medial tibiofemoral compartment (P = 0.017 and 0.013, respectively) and in global knee thickness at 12 and 24 months (P = 0.034 and 0.054, respectively). 

Over time there was no between-group difference in the change in synovial thickness or bone marrow lesion size. A reduction in disease symptoms was seen in both groups over time; the overall daily consumption of rescue analgesic did not differ between the groups.

“Only chondroitin sulfate was found to be capable of slowing down the progression of the disease by reducing the loss of cartilage,” Pelletier said in a statement.

Reference Talk: In a Two-Year Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Multicenter Study, Chondroitin Sulfate Was Significantly Superior to Celecoxib at Reducing Cartilage Loss with Similar Efficacy at Reducing Disease Symptoms in Knee Osteoarthritis Patients (2015 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting). 2015. Available at: Accessed November 11, 2015.