What is glucosamine?

The use of glucosamine in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal/health supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Glucosamine is also known as chitosamine.

Glucosamine has been used for the alleviation of the symptoms of arthritis.

It has been reported that glucosamine may be involved in the production of cartilage that is important for healthy joints.

Glucosamine has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of glucosamine may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Glucosamine may also have uses other than those listed in this medication guide.


Before taking glucosamine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you have any other medical conditions, allergies, or if you take other medicines or other herbal/health supplements. Glucosamine may not be recommended in some situations.

Do not take glucosamine without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant.

Do not take glucosamine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

There is no information available regarding the use of glucosamine by children. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without first talking to the child’s doctor.

There are no known restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while taking glucosamine, unless otherwise directed by your health care professional.

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Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a glucosamine overdose are not known.

No information is available regarding a missed dose of glucosamine. Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you require further information.

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Side effects

Although uncommon, allergic reactions to glucosamine have been reported. Stop taking glucosamine and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

Other less serious side effects of glucosamine have not been reported. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you experience any side effects from glucosamine. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions between glucosamine and other prescription or over-the-counter medicines or herbal/health supplements have not been reported. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional before taking glucosamine if you are taking any other medicines or supplements.

Other Names


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Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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