Glucosamine and Chondroitin Print Page
Common Names: glucosamine, shark chondroitin
Scientific Names: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin 4- and 6-sulfate
Effectiveness: Glucosamine and chondroitin may moderately improve pain and functionality in knee OA.
Safety: Glucosamine and chondroitin have been used safely in clinical trials. Adverse events reported are generally mild; however, the safety of long-term use is unknown.
What are glucosamine and chondroitin?
- Glucosamine is a naturally occurring amino sugar that is produced in humans. It is also found in seashells or could be made in the laboratory. Glucosamine supplements are commonly sold as glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride.
- Chondroitin is a substance that occurs naturally in the body. It is an important component of the cartilage around joints.
What it is it used for in people with rheumatic conditions?
- Glucosamine and chondroitin are often used alone or together for the management of osteoarthritis (OA) and joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
How is it thought to work?
- Glucosamine is used by the body to make a “cushion” that surrounds the joints. This cushion becomes thinner and stiff in patients with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine might help to supply the material needed to rebuild the cushion. There is evidence to suggest that glucosamine may reduce the production of inflammatory mediators that cause joint and cartilage damage.
- Chondroitin is a major building block of the cartilage of the joint and may slow down the breakdown of joint cartilage by stopping certain enzymes from working.
Does it Work? What the Science Says:
|Glucosamine sulfate 1500mg per day||
Some studies have shown reduced pain and improved functionality in patients with mild-to-moderate OA, especially the knee. However, in the GAIT trial, use of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin, alone or in combination, did not significantly reduce pain in patients with knee OA.
Mixed results for OA
|Chondroitin sulfate 200–400mg 2 to 3 times per day||
May provide modest effect in reducing pain and improving joint function in patients with OA, especially the knee, after 8-12 weeks. However, some studies did not show any benefit in OA.
Mixed results for OA and limited evidence to suggest benefit in RA
It is unclear whether combining glucosamine and chondroitin provides additional benefit compared to the individual components.
Combination may not be better than single agent products
What are possible side effects?
- Glucosamine and chondroitin are generally well tolerated. Side effects associated with glucosamine and chondroitin are generally mild in nature.
- Glucosamine: nausea, stomach upset, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation. Drowsiness, headache, and skin reactions have also been reported.
- Chondroitin: stomach upset and nausea, diarrhea, constipation, swelling of eyelid and lower limbs, and hair loss have also been reported.
- Both glucosamine and chondroitin can interact with anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs by increasing risk of bruising and/or bleeding.
- Common antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs may include: warfarin (Coumadin), ASA (Aspirin), and clopidogrel (Plavix), ticagrelor (Brilinta), prasugrel (Effient), enoxaparin (Lovenox), dalteparin (Fragmin), dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis) and others.
For complete information about glucosamine or chondroitin, consult your physician and pharmacist.