Table 3

Key findings: effect of glucosamine on back pain outcomes

StudyRisk-of-biasMethod of assessmentKey findingsNotes
Wilkens et al30LowLow back and leg pain intensities during activity and rest measured by 11-point numeric pain rating scale (NRS)
Patients assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year
Baseline NRS LBP at rest for the glucosamine group was 3.7 (95% CI 3.3 to 4.1) and 3.9 (95% CI 3.5 to 4.3) for placebo. The 6-month NRS score was 2.5 (95% CI 2.1 to 2.9) for glucosamine and 2.4 (95% CI 2.0 to 2.8) for placebo. No statistical difference in change between the two groups found at 6 months (p=0.91) for LBP at rest and (p=0.97) for LBP during activityNo significant difference between glucosamine and placebo
Tant et al31HighVAS for pain at rest and on movement (0–10 cm) measured every 4 weeksAt week 4, mean change from baseline VAS scores for pain at rest was significantly greater in the glucosamine group compared with control group (−2.18 vs +0.13, p<0.001). Difference also significant at 8 and 12 weeks (both p<0.01). The between-group difference in mean VAS scores for pain on movement was only significant at week 12 (2.08) in glucosamine group vs (4.00) in control group; (p=0.029)Significant difference between CT+glucosamine and CT
Leffler et al32LowVAS for pain recorded at clinic visits (0–10 cm)
VAS for pain recorded in a daily diary by patients (VAS 0–7 cm). Assessed after weeks 7&8 Knee and back data were separated in later analysis
Back: The VAS for pain showed a mean change of -28.0% when medication was compared to placebo during the clinic visit (p>0.06) and −21.0% in the diary data (p>0.06). No CINo significant effect on back pain between glucosamine and placebo