Following up on the first clinical trial on ASU, by Blotman and colleagues, that demonstrated the first clinical evidence for the efficacy of ASU and its potential as a symptomatic slow acting drug for osteoarthritis, a second clinical trial was done on ASU. The goal of this trial was to affirm the previous findings and to test its effects directly on people suffering from knee and hip osteoarthritis and to determine whether ASU might be a slow acting drug for the treatment of OA. 

Much of clinical science involves conducting multiple different trials to test whether a treatment is effective or not and this is exactly the approach taken with ASU. To test this out the researchers conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multi-center clinical trial involving 164 patients suffering from either knee or hip OA. 

In layman’s terms that means that the study basically split the patients into two groups. One group took 300mg of ASU for 6 months and another group took a placebo for 6 months. Neither the patients nor the doctors who saw the patients knew who was taking ASU and who was taking the placebo. After 6 months everyone stopped taking their pills and 2 months after this date they came back into the office to see if ASU had any residual effects that lasted after 2 months. The idea being that this would help demonstrate that ASU in fact does act like a slow acting drug for OA. This was another gold standard designed clinical trial.

The researchers published the following results from the study:

  • The people taking ASU showed improvement in joint function compared to the people taking the placebo. 
  • The patients taking the ASU showed a decrease in pain compared to the placebo group. 
  • People taking ASU consumed less NSAIDs compared to people taking the placebo. 
  • Overall functional disability was significantly reduced in those taking ASU versus the placebo. 
  • There was a residual effect since improvements in function lasted for another two months after taking the ASU. 

Overall, the results of this study backed up the results of the previous study. They also helped demonstrate that ASU can improve pain and function in people with knee and hip OA and that ASU’s positive effects can be demonstrated after two months of treatment. Further, it showed the effects can last up to two months after the end of treatment. By now, ASU was emerging as an ideal candidate for a symptomatic slow acting drug to treat osteoarthritis without the potential side effects of typical analgesics and NSAIDs. 

Maheu E, Mazieres B, Valat J-P, et al. Symptomatic efficacy of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled, multicenter clinical trial with a six-month treatment period and a two-month follow-up demonstrating a persistent effect. Arthritis Rheum. 1998;41(1):81-91.