Little benefit from three knee treatments

Oct. 5, 2007 at 11:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Many common ways of treating osteoarthritis of the knee have no scientific support, including glucosamine and chondroitin, a U.S. review found.

The review, requested by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, failed to find convincing evidence of benefit from arthroscopic surgery to clean the knee joint with or without removal of debris and loose cartilage. In addition, the review found glucosamine and chondroitin appear to be no more effective than placebos on pain and physical functioning.

Injections with hyaluronan preparations -- substances that are intended to improve lubrication of the knee joint -- improve scores on patient questionnaires used to measure pain and function, however, the evidence is uncertain because of study quality.

Review leader David J. Samson, of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Evidence-based Practice Center in Chicago, reviewed findings from 53 randomized clinical trials of glucosamine, chrondroitin, and injections with hyaluronan preparations and 23 studies of arthroscopy.

The review, released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, scrutinized individual studies concerned with these treatments’ effects as well as meta-analyses that analyzed the combined evidence of groups of studies. The researchers recommend better quality randomized clinical trials are needed to clarify whether these treatments are beneficial.

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