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Glucosamine is a naturally occurring sugar that is a basic building block of
several important constituents of articular (joint) cartilage
- important for maintaining the elasticity, strength and resilience of cartilage
in joints, which helps to reduce joint damage (1)
- administration of glucosamine is believed to stimulate production of cartilage
components and allow rebuilding of damaged cartilage (1).
Glucosamine is commonly used for relief of pain and symptoms associated with
osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
- available in the form of tablets, capsules and powders as glucosamine sulfate,
glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (NAG)
- sometimes used in combination with chondroitin sulfate (1)
- glucosamine supplements are either produced synthetically or derived from
the shells of shellfish - products vary in their content and strength of active
Interactions between glucosamine and prescribed medication (3):
- glucosamine and warfarin
- there are a number of reports describing enhanced anticoagulant effects
when glucosamine has been taken with warfarin
- mechanism of the interaction is unclear
- MHRA recommend that patients on warfarin should not take glucosamine
- has also been suggested that glucosamine should be used with caution
in patients taking antiplatelet agents - no reports of interaction
between glucosamine and the NOACs were located; until more is known,
caution is warranted
- glucosamine and cytotoxic drugs
- theoretically, glucosamine may induce resistance to some chemotherapy
agents - may interact with doxorubicin and etoposide; because of the potential
clinical significance of this interaction, glucosamine should not be used
- glucosamine and blood glucose
- glucosamine does not appear to adversely affect plasma blood glucose
in patients without diabetes. However, data relating to its effects in
patients with diabetes are limited. It would be prudent for patients with
diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels more closely if they start
to take glucosamine, increase the dose or change the product being taken
- Mason P. Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2001.
- Anon. Glucosamine for knee osteoarthritis - What's new? Drug Ther Bull
2008; 46: 81-4.
- NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service (September 2019). Glucosamine - what are
its drug interactions?
Last edited 10/2019