Have a look in Today's Straits Times under the Review section on page A35, the author writes about the fact that many elderly folks are still popping glucosamine pills despite the lack of evidence. We've actually written on this topic before on November 9 last year (http://weloverunning.blogspot.com/2009/11/glucosamine-chondroitin-msm.html).
As mentioned, the older studies tend to have some evidence supporting the use of glucosamine, perhaps due to the studies funded by the drug companies. Current studies show a lot less evidence supporting it's (glucosamine) use on osteoarthritis as studies are a lot more stringent and require clinic trials to be registered before trials can be commenced.
While glucosamine has never proven to have any dangerous side effects, there is also no evidence to suggest that it works,. Evidence suggest that it works mainly by placebo effect.
For my patients who have been asking me on this topic, you now have more evidence.
Wandel S, Junni P et al (2010). Effects Of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Or Placebo In Patients With Osteoarthritis Of Hip Or Knee: Network Meta-Analysis. BMJ. 342:c4675 (Epub 16 Sep 2010).
Please email me if you want the Straits Times article or the research paper.
*Picture from Flickr