Painful Temporomandibular Joint Osteoarthritis: Glucosamine Supplements vs Ibuprofen

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The effects of glucosamine supplements were not superior to the effects of ibuprofen in the treatment of patients with temporomandibular joint OA.

The effects of glucosamine supplements in the treatment of patients with painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) osteoarthritis (OA) were not superior to the effects of ibuprofen taken 2 to 3 times per day, according to the results of a systematic review published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation.

The investigators conducted a literature search for studies that assessed the effects of glucosamine supplements on pain and maximum mouth opening restriction. The eligibility criteria for the studies included: individuals diagnosed with TMJ OA >18 years; oral administration of glucosamine supplements; other therapies, placebo, or no intervention; pain improvement and function recovery; randomized clinical trials.

A total of 12 potentially eligible studies were identified, 3 of which were ultimately included in the analysis. Of the 3 selected studies, 2 were categorized as low risk for bias and 1 was categorized as high risk for bias. Intervention groups received treatment with glucosamine sulfate, whereas control groups were treated with placebo or ibuprofen.

In 2 studies, glucosamine supplements were equally effective as ibuprofen taken 2 to 3 times daily for 12 weeks with regard to pain reduction and improvement in maximum mouth opening. Moreover, 1 study did not report any significant difference in follow-up evaluations of these clinical variables in either the glucosamine supplement or placebo groups administered over 6 weeks.

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The investigators concluded that a low level of evidence exists regarding the therapeutic effects of glucosamine supplements in patients with TMJ OA. With a 12-week follow-up period, treatment with glucosamine supplements was equally effective as treatment with ibuprofen taken 2 to 3 times per day. Over 6 weeks of treatment, the use of glucosamine supplements was not superior to placebo. The authors noted that the included studies presented major drawbacks, however, and conclusions must be interpreted with caution.

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Melo G, Casett E, Stuginski-Barbosa J, et al. Effects of glucosamine supplements on painful temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis: a systematic review [published February 15, 2018]. J Oral Rehabil. doi:10.1111/joor.12616