To conduct a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with the aims of comparing relevant clinical outcomes (that is, visual analog scores (VAS), total and sub-Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis index (WOMAC) scores, Lequesne algofunctional index, joint space width change, and adverse events) between diacerein, glucosamine, and placebo.
Medline and Scopus databases were searched from inception to 29 August 2014, using PubMed and Scopus search engines and included RCTs or quasi-experimental designs comparing clinical outcomes between treatments. Data were extracted from original studies. A network meta-analysis was performed by applying weight regression for continuous outcomes and a mixed-effect Poisson regression for dichotomous outcomes.
Thirty-one of 505 identified studies were eligible. Compared to placebo, glucosamine showed a significant improvement with unstandardized mean differences (UMD) in total WOMAC, pain WOMAC, function WOMAC, and Lequesne score of −2.49 (95% confidence interval (CI) −4.14, −0.83), −0.75 (95% CI: −1.18, −0.32), −4.78 (95% CI: −5.96, −3.59), and −1.03 (95% CI: −1.34, −0.72), respectively. Diacerein clinically improves visual analog scores, function WOMAC, and stiffness WOMAC with UMD values of −2.23 (95% CI: −2.82, −1.64), −6.64 (95% CI: −10.50, −2.78), and −0.68 (95% CI: −1.20, −0.16) when compared to placebo.
The network meta-analysis suggests that diacerein and glucosamine are equally efficacious for symptom relief in knee OA, but that the former has more side effects.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40001-015-0115-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.