Generic Name: glucosamine (glue KOE sah meen)
Brand Name: Genicin, Optiflex-G
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is sugar protein that helps your body build cartilage (the hard connective tissue located mainly on the bones near your joints).
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance found in bones, bone marrow, shellfish and fungus.
Glucosamine has been used in alternative medicine as an aid to relieving joint pain, swelling, and stiffness caused by arthritis.
Not all uses for glucosamine have been approved by the FDA. Glucosamine should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Glucosamine is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be 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 be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
What is the most important information I should know about glucosamine?
Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking glucosamine?
You should not use this product if you are allergic to glucosamine.
Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:
high cholesterol or triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood);
asthma or other breathing disorder;
if you are allergic to shellfish; or
if you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven).
It is not known whether glucosamine will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.
Glucosamine may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.
How should I take glucosamine?
When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.
If you choose to use glucosamine, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
Do not use different formulations of glucosamine at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose of glucosamine.
This medicine can cause unusual results with a blood glucose (sugar) test. Do not use this product without a doctor's advice if you are diabetic.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using glucosamine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
It may take up to 8 weeks before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using glucosamine as directed.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using glucosamine.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra glucosamine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking glucosamine?
Some glucosamine products also contain manganese. Taking too much of this combination can cause a manganese overdose. Do not take more than directed on the medicine label.
Glucosamine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Common side effects may include:
diarrhea, constipation; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect glucosamine?
Other drugs may interact with glucosamine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about glucosamine
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: 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 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.06.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: March 17, 2014