- Osteoarthritis results from progressive catabolic loss of cartilage proteoglycans due to imbalance between synthesis and degradation. The availability of glucosamine, an intermediate in mucopolysaccharide synthesis, can be rate-limiting for proteoglycan production in cartilage tissue culture. 57 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized into a group treated for 4 weeks with daily i.v. glucosamine sulfate (GS) together with 800 mg chondroitin sulfate, and a placebo group. Knee pain at rest, on movement and on palpation, as well as range of knee motion were then recorded. In the GS group, there was significant reduction of clinical symptoms (p < 0.01), but no significant reduction in the placebo group. Physicians' assessment of tenderness and range of motion were significantly in favor of the GS group (p < 0.01). In those treated with glycosamine there were no adverse reactions and no changes in laboratory blood tests. We conclude that GS can be considered the drug of choice for prolonged treatment of osteoarthritis.