Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not daily intake of glucosamine supplements prevents the need for knee replacements later in life for adults predisposed to osteoarthritis.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three English language primary randomized controlled trial studies published between 2001 and 2008

DATA SOURCES: Three double blind randomized control trials comparing glucosamine supplements to placebo were found using PubMed.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Outcomes were measured using radiographic studies of the knees, joint space measurements, and symptoms were evaluated using Lequesne and WOMAC indexes.

RESULTS: The Reginster (2001) and Pavelka (2002) studies demonstrated no change in joint space measurements in the experimental glucosamine group and a 20-25% decrease in symptoms such as pain and stiffness in the Pavelka study. In the Bruyere (2008) study, 19 out of 131 (14.5%) of those in the placebo group underwent total joint replacement five years after the trial and 9 out of 144 (6.3%) of those in the experimental glucosamine group underwent total joint replacement five years after the trial.

CONCLUSIONS: The three randomized controlled trial in this review concluded that glucosamine supplements retard the progression of joint space narrowing and will delay the need for a total joint replacement up to five years after discontinuing glucosamine supplements.