A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial of a topical cream containing glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and camphor for osteoarthritis of the knee

Marc Cohen, Rory Wolfe, Trudy Mai, Daniel Lewis

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To assess the ability of a topical preparation of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate to reduce pain related to osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Methods. Sixty-three patients were randomized to receive either a topical glucosamine and chondroitin preparation or placebo to be used as required over an 8 week period. Efficacy was assessed using a visual analog scale (VAS) for pain as well as the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), and the SF-36 questionnaire. Results. VAS scores indicated a greater mean reduction in pain for the glucosamine/chondroitin preparation group (mean change -3.4 cm, SD 2.6 cm) compared to the placebo group (mean change -1.6 cm, SD 2.7 cm) after 8 weeks. After 4 weeks the difference between active and placebo groups in their mean reduction from baseline was 1.2 (95% CI 0.1 to 2.4, p=0.03) and after 8 weeks was 1.8 (95% CI for difference between groups, 0.6 to 2.9 cm; p = 0.002). Conclusion. Topical application of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is effective in relieving the pain from OA of the knee and improvement is evident within 4 weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-528
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003


  • Chondroitin
  • Glucosamine
  • Knee
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • Shark cartilage

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