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Analgesics for Osteoarthritis—An Update

Slide: 7 of 32

Background: Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural compounds found in cartilage, and both are marketed to patients who have osteoarthritis. Their precise mechanisms of action are unknown but may involve promotion of maintenance and repair of cartilage.

In European countries, glucosamine is available as a prescription drug. In the United States, however, glucosamine and chondroitin are dietary supplements and are not regulated as pharmaceuticals. Thus, adequate standardization of glucosamine and chondroitin preparations is a significant concern. It has been shown that the actual content of different commercial preparations of chondroitin and glucosamine often varies substantially from what is stated on the label. Such inconsistencies may have implications on estimates of effectiveness and safety.