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Chondroitin Sulfate

By

Laura Shane-McWhorter

, PharmD, University of Utah College of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jan 2022| Content last modified Jan 2022
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION

What is chondroitin sulfate?

What claims are made about chondroitin sulfate?

Does chondroitin sulfate work?

Scientific evidence shows no benefit when chondroitin sulfate is taken by itself. However, evidence suggests that in combination with glucosamine, it may

  • Reduce joint pain

  • Improve joint mobility

  • Allow reduction of the doses of conventional anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, when chondroitin sulfate with glucosamine is taken for 6 to 24 months

Until recently, only small trials had studied chondroitin sulfate alone or in combination with glucosamine to treat osteoarthritis. The Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) was a large, placebo-controlled study of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the 2 in combination to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. Pain was not significantly reduced by either drug alone or the combination. The study suggested that people with moderate-to-severe knee pain saw some relief with the combination, but these findings require confirmation.

What are the possible side effects of chondroitin sulfate?

What drug interactions occur with chondroitin sulfate?

Chondroitin sulfate taken with warfarin and possibly other drugs that prevent blood clots (anticoagulants) may increase the risk of bleeding; therefore, people taking anticoagulants should avoid chondroitin sulfate.

Recommendations

Chondroitin sulfate taken in combination with glucosamine might possibly help ease symptoms of osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder that causes damage to the cartilage and surrounding tissues and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Arthritis due to damage of joint... read more Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, but the effects, if any, are likely to be small. Treatment guidelines for osteoarthritis do not currently recommend using chondroitin and glucosamine.

Chondroitin sulfate appears reasonably safe, but people taking anticoagulants (such as warfarin) should not take it.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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