Combined Glucosamine and Methylsulfonylmethane -- better known as just MSM -- are more effective against osteoarthritis than either agent alone, according to Indian researchers.
In the journal Clinical Drug Investigations, Drs. P. R. Usha and M. U. R. Naidu report that although the individual agents did improve pain and swelling in patients' affected joints, the combined therapy was more effective than the single agents in reducing these symptoms and improving the function of joints.
In a clinical trial conducted at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, 118 patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis were treated three times daily with either 500 milligrams of Glucosamine, 500 milligrams of MSM, a combination of both, or an inactive placebo.
After 12 weeks of treatment, the average pain score had fallen from 1.74 to 0.65 in the Glucosamine-only group. In MSM-only participants, it fell from 1.53 to 0.74. However, in the combination group, it fell from 1.7 to 0.36.
The researchers also found that the combination treatment had a faster effect on pain and inflammation compared to Glucosamine alone. All of the treatments were well tolerated.
"It can be concluded," they observe, "that the combination of MSM with Glucosamine provides better and more rapid improvement in patients with osteoarthritis."
Clinical Drug Investigations, June 2004.