What is glucosamine?


Generic Name: Glucosamine Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is glucosamine used for?

Glucosamine is used for: Promoting joint and cartilage health. It may also have other uses. Check with your pharmacist for more details regarding the particular brand you use.

Glucosamine is a cellulose-like combination product containing naturally occurring “building blocks” used by the body to make cartilage. It is thought to work by stimulating the production of cartilage, which leads to joint repair. It also protects cartilage and stops it from breaking down.

How should I take glucosamine?

Use glucosamine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

Dosing depends on the use and the source of the product.

Use as directed on the package, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

This product may take several weeks to months to work.

If you miss taking a dose of glucosamine for 1 or more days, there is no cause for concern. If your doctor recommended that you take it, try to remember your dose every day.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use glucosamine.

How do I store glucosamine?

Glucosamine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store glucosamine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of glucosamine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush glucosamine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using glucosamine?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in glucosamine;
  • you are pregnant.

Is it safe to take glucosamine during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of glucosamine?

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

  • Constipation; diarrhea; drowsiness; headache; heartburn; nausea; upset stomach; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

  • Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with glucosamine?

Glucosamine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

People taking other medicines including heart medicines, insulin, blood thinners, and diuretics should check with their doctors before taking glucosamine.

Does food or alcohol interact with glucosamine?

Glucosamine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with glucosamine?

Glucosamine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:
if you are planning to become pregnant or are breast-feeding

  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods (especially seafood), or other substances
  • if you are taking an arthritis medicine (eg, celecoxib) or have diabetes

Understand the Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of Glucosamine for an adult?
OsteoarthritisRheumatoid arthritis
Adult: 500 mg 3-4 times orally daily.
Max Dosage: 1500 mg/day.

What is the dose of Glucosamine for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is glucosamine available?

Glucosamine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Tablet, Oral: 250 mg
Powder for Oral Solution: 1.5g
Solution, Intravenous: 400 mg/3mL

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of glucosamine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017