What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a carbohydrate, or complex sugar, that the body makes from sugar in foods. The body uses the substance to form cartilage, the protective tissue in joints. Glucosamine, which is made from the shells of crabs and other shellfish, is said to decrease joint pain and improve joint movement among people with osteoarthritis.
Several clinical studies have reported that glucosamine works better than a placebo (sugar pill) in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A recent study found that glucosamine may slow the progression of osteoarthritis. People who used glucosamine regularly for 1 to 3 years had little to no additional joint damage as compared to those people taking placebo (an inactive treatment). Glucosamine also reduced the pain and physical limitations caused by osteoarthritis. However, glucosamine did not seem to improve joint stiffness.
Glucosamine side effects
Glucosamine typically has very few side effects, although there have been some reports of stomach pain, heartburn, red and itchy skin, drowsiness, headache, and diarrhea with its use. In rare cases, shortness of breath and fast heartbeat has been reported. Recent research suggests that glucosamine may increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Please consult your doctor if you have diabetes and are interested in using glucosamine. You may need extra monitoring when using this supplement.
Recent research suggests that there are possible drug interactions with glucosamine and drugs that treat diabetes. The cause of this potential
drug interaction comes from glucosamine's ability to increase blood sugar levels in people with
diabetes. As a result, taking glucosamine may make diabetes drugs less effective. You may need
extra monitoring when using supplements containing glucosamine. Please consult your doctor if
you have diabetes and are interested in using glucosamine due to this possible drug
In order to check for potential drug interactions, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking the following drugs: doxorubicin (Adriamycin®), etoposide (Vepesid®), teniposide and warfarin. These drugs have the potential to interact with glucosamine supplements.
Shop for glucosamine products available on Walgreens.com.
If you're looking for more specific answers to specific questions, ask a Walgreens pharmacist here.