Arthritis Home > Glucosamine Side Effects

Although most people do not experience any problems while taking glucosamine, side effects are possible. Some of the side effects that were seen in clinical studies on glucosamine include heartburn, nausea, headaches, and constipation. Notify your healthcare provider if you develop any possible side effects, including signs of an allergic reaction (such as itching, difficulty breathing, or hives).

Does Glucosamine Cause Side Effects?

Glucosamine is a dietary supplement that is usually used for osteoarthritis treatment. In general, this product is not likely to cause significant side effects in most people. However, some glucosamine side effects have been reported.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with glucosamine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of glucosamine side effects with you.)

Reported Side Effects of Glucosamine

Glucosamine side effects reported in studies include:
Glucosamine is derived from the shells of lobsters, crabs, and shrimp. Theoretically, people with shellfish allergies could develop allergic reactions to glucosamine; however, most people are allergic to proteins in the meat of shellfish, not the actual shells. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
  • A rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
There has been concern that glucosamine may cause kidney toxicity or might negatively affect cholesterol or blood pressure levels. However, these problems have not been seen in long-term studies of glucosamine.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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