Krill Oil for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Laura L. Laslett, Lieke E.J.M. Scheepers, Benny Antony, Anita E. Wluka, Guoqi Cai, Catherine L. Hill, Lyn March, Helen I. Keen, Petr Otahal, Flavia M. Cicuttini, Graeme Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Importance: Knee osteoarthritis is disabling, with few effective treatments. Preliminary evidence suggested that krill oil supplementation improved knee pain, but effects on knee osteoarthritis remain unclear. Objective: To evaluate efficacy of krill oil supplementation, compared with placebo, on knee pain in people with knee osteoarthritis who have significant knee pain and effusion-synovitis. Design, Setting, and Participants: Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 5 Australian cities. Participants with clinical knee osteoarthritis, significant knee pain, and effusion-synovitis on magnetic resonance imaging were enrolled from December 2016 to June 2019; final follow-up occurred on February 7, 2020. Interventions: Participants were randomized to 2 g/d of krill oil (n = 130) or matching placebo (n = 132) for 24 weeks. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was change in knee pain as assessed by visual analog scale (range, 0-100; 0 indicating least pain; minimum clinically important improvement = 15) over 24 weeks. Results: Of 262 participants randomized (mean age, 61.6 [SD, 9.6] years; 53% women), 222 (85%) completed the trial. Krill oil did not improve knee pain compared with placebo (mean change in VAS score, -19.9 [krill oil] vs -20.2 [placebo]; between-group mean difference, -0.3; 95% CI, -6.9 to 6.4) over 24 weeks. One or more adverse events was reported by 51% in the krill oil group (67/130) and by 54% in the placebo group (71/132). The most common adverse events were musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders, which occurred 32 times in the krill oil group and 42 times in the placebo group, including knee pain (n = 10 with krill oil; n = 9 with placebo), lower extremity pain (n = 1 with krill oil; n = 5 with placebo), and hip pain (n = 3 with krill oil; n = 2 with placebo). Conclusions and Relevance: Among people with knee osteoarthritis who have significant knee pain and effusion-synovitis on magnetic resonance imaging, 2 g/d of daily krill oil supplementation did not improve knee pain over 24 weeks compared with placebo. These findings do not support krill oil for treating knee pain in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJAMA
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2024

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