Glucosamine Sulfate for Osteoarthritis
I have been advising patients, friends and family to take Glucosamine Sulfate (GCS) for Osteoarthritis for years. In honesty I have been doing this for a long time before I had a really good look at the evidence. Time constraints make it difficult for everyone to research everything properly so here is my digest of the evidence.
The really short digest is: it probably works, so take it..
The longer digest is that according to NICE (reference to follow) GCS on the balance of probability does work but should not be recommended on the basis of cost benefit. I have not had time to analyse this cost benefit but really do wonder what this means! A bottle of GCS costs probably £15 for 3 months so £60 a year. A hip or knee replacement costs between £4000 and £8000. The pain, restriction on work and social life is huge for those suffering from OA. How is this measured?
My guess is that as part of the NHS budget NICE has calculated that it cannot advise GP’s to recommend GCS simply because there are budget restrictions even though it will reduce OA symptoms and in the long term knee and hip replacements. Is it simply a case of the GCS lobby is not as strong as the painkiller and surgical tool lobby?
NICE. Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Osteoarthritis. http://cks.nice.org.uk/osteoarthritis#!scenariorecommendation:6