17 May 2002
Glucosamine, found in shark cartilage and other supplements, is being increasingly promoted for treating spinal osteoarthritis despite a dearth of evidence to prove its effectiveness, a Brisbane conference has heard.
Dr Scott Masters, vice-president of the Australian Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine, told the recent Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine conference that glucosamine was as good as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in treating osteoarthritis of the knee.
'However, we need to be wary of translating the good knee results to treatment of the spine,' he said. 'It’s safe [and] effective for the knee, but we have little information of any effectiveness for the spine.'
Two studies have investigated the use of glucosamine in controlling lower back pain; one suggested it could be useful, but the other showed it was no better than placebo (dummy pills).
Last Reviewed: 17 May 2002