Generic name: shark cartilage [ SHARK-CAR-ti-laghe ]
Drug class: Herbal products
What is shark cartilage?
Shark cartilage comes from the skeletal tissues of sharks caught mostly in the Pacific Ocean. Shark cartilage is also known as AE-941, Cartilage de Requin, Cartilago de Tiburon, Collagène Marin, Extrait de Cartilage de Requin, Liquide de Cartilage Marin, Marine Collagen, Marine Liquid Cartilage, Neovastat, Poudre de Cartilage de Requin, Sphyrna lewini, Squalus acanthias, and other names.
Shark cartilage has also been used to treat cancer. However, research has shown that shark cartilage is not likely to be effective in treating advanced cancer.
Other uses not proven with research have included treating osteoarthritis, Kaposi's sarcoma, psoriasis, macular degeneration (age-related vision loss), and other conditions.
A specific product (Neovastat) containing shark cartilage extract prolonged survival time in some people with kidney cancer.
It is not certain whether shark cartilage is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Shark cartilage should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Shark cartilage 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.
Shark cartilage may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
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.
Before taking this medicine
Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:
high levels of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia).
It is not known whether shark cartilage will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether shark cartilage passes into breast milk or if it could 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 shark cartilage?
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 shark cartilage, 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.
Shark cartilage is thought to be possibly safe when taken by mouth for up to 40 months, or applied to the skin for up to 8 weeks.
Do not take topical (for the skin) shark cartilage by mouth. Topical forms of this product are for use only on the skin.
Do not use different forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of shark cartilage at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.
Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with shark cartilage does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
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 shark cartilage 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 shark cartilage?
Avoid taking shark cartilage with a vitamin or mineral supplement that contains calcium.
Fruit juices that are acidic (orange, apple, grape, or tomato juices) can affect the potency of shark cartilage when mixed together. If you add shark cartilage to any of these juices, drink it right away. Do not save the mixture for later use.
Shark cartilage 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.
Stop using shark cartilage and call your healthcare provider at once if you have:
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or
high blood sugar--increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss.
Common side effects of shark cartilage may include:
tired feeling; or
unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth.
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.
What other drugs will affect shark cartilage?
Do not take shark cartilage without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:
drugs that weaken the immune system such as cancer medicine, steroids, and medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with shark cartilage, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.
More about shark cartilage
Related treatment guides
- 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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