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Are There Side Effects of Glucosamine Chondroitin or Interaction With Meds?

Taking supplements with a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin seems to help reduce osteoarthritis pain, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 123. Both substances have anti-inflammatory effects that may be beneficial for this condition. Side effects are uncommon 2. Consult a qualified health care provider before you take glucosamine-chondroitin supplements to learn how to prevent negative effects and to rule out potential interactions with medication 23.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Gastrointestinal Effects

Serious Side Effects

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Side effects that could indicate heart, circulatory system problems or fluid retention call for medical attention. Glucosamine-chondroitin supplements have been connected with swollen ankles and feet, heart palpitations and other heartbeat irregularities 23.

Allergic Reaction

Because glucosamine is made from the shells of crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters and shrimp, you could have an allergic reaction to glucosamine if you have a shellfish allergy. This is only theoretical, as people with shellfish allergies generally are allergic to proteins in the meat rather than to the shells. Nevertheless, seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms such as a rash, hives, itching, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the mouth, throat or eyelids.

Interactions with Blood Thinners

Can You Take Glucosamine With Warfarin?

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Theoretically, chondroitin could increase the effects of blood-thinning medications because it is similar to heparin, a drug used for this purpose, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 2. Warfarin is another medicine prescribed as a blood thinner, and antiplatelet medicines also have this effect. Although the risk of an interaction is likely very small with less potent substances, you should be cautious about taking aspirin, ibuprofen, fish oil and vitamin E when you use glucosamine-chondroitin supplements 23. Watch for any unusual bruising or bleeding while you're taking glucosamine-chondroitin 2.

Cancer Treatment Interactions

Glucosamine could decrease the effectiveness of certain medications used for treating cancer, according to MedlinePlus, a website affiliated with the U.S. National Institutes of Health 4. Check with your doctor if you are undergoing cancer treatments to make sure that this is not the case with any drugs you are on.