Antinociceptive synergy, additivity, and subadditivity with combinations of oral glucosamine plus nonopioid analgesics in mice.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003 Nov; 307(2):699-704.JP
Glucosamine (2-amino-2-deoxy-d-glucose) and glucosamine-containing products have been reported to have efficacy in the treatment of various musculoskeletal disorders. Glucosamine's efficacy, including reduction of pain, is attributed to disease-modifying properties, specifically to cartilage-rebuilding associated with modulation of interleukin-1-induced activation of chondrocytes and to inhibition of proinflammatory effects of the nuclear factor-kappaB pathway. However, glucosamine has not been shown to have direct analgesic activity. We report here that commercial glucosamine (90.4% glucosamine sulfate + 9.6% excipients) administered as the sole agent (up to 500 mg/kg p.o.) was inactive in the mouse abdominal irritant test but that certain combinations of glucosamine with nonopioid analgesics at the oral doses and ratios tested resulted in a synergistic (ibuprofen and ketoprofen), additive (diclofenac, indomethacin, naproxen, and piroxicam), or subadditive (aspirin and acetaminophen) antinociceptive interaction. In the specific case of ibuprofen, the racemate (standard ibuprofen) produced dose-related antinociception with ED50 = 26.1 +/- 3.4 mg/kg. Combinations containing racemic ibuprofen and glucosamine in greater than 1:1 ratio (glucosamine/ibuprofen) were synergistic in the test (e.g., ED50 = 11.0 +/- 2.1 for the 9:1 ratio; p < 0.01, analysis of variance). Combinations containing glucosamine and ibuprofen (2:1 and 9:1) yielded plasma levels of ibuprofen that were no different from administration of ibuprofen alone. The possibility that combinations containing certain fixed ratios of glucosamine and certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might enhance pain relief in patients with pain or might achieve acceptable levels of pain relief with lower doses of NSAIDs (reduced adverse effects) is presently being pursued in clinical trials.