- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: chondroitin sulfate
Brand and Other Names: CDS, chondroitin, GAG, galactosaminoglucuronoglycan
Drug Class: Herbals
What is chondroitin sulfate, and what is it used for?
Chondroitin is a naturally occurring substance that is present in connective tissues including bone, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and skin. Chondroitin is a major component of the extracellular matrix, the supportive structure in all tissues. Chondroitin is commercially produced either synthetically or from natural sources such as shark or cow cartilage, or algae. Chondroitin sulfate is often combined with other substances that promote bone and joint health and is available over the counter (OTC) in the U.S.
Chondroitin sulfate is used as a nutritional supplement in the treatment of osteoarthritis, an age-related degeneration of cartilage, the fibrous tissue that lines joints. Chondroitin is believed to help repair damaged cartilage, reduce joint inflammation and associated pain, swelling and stiffness. Preliminary studies indicate that chondroitin may reduce inflammation in the inner lining (endothelium) of blood vessels, and reduce the risk of plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) and consequently, the risk for heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Chondroitin is not available in dietary sources and can be taken only as supplements, which are available as tablets or capsules. Chondroitin has been suggested for use in many conditions other than osteoarthritis, but scientific studies for these uses are lacking. Suggested uses of chondroitin sulfate include:
- High level of blood fats (hyperlipidemia)
- Heart disease from impaired blood flow (ischemic heart disease)
- Prophylaxis for risk of myocardial infarction
- Preterm labor
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Colorectal and breast cancers
What are the side effects of chondroitin sulfate?
- Do not use if you have any blood clotting/bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood-thinning medications. Chondroitin can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Preliminary research suggests chondroitin may contribute to the growth of prostate cancer cells. It requires more studies, however, it is safer to avoid chondroitin if you have, or are at risk for developing prostate cancer.
- Use chondroitin with caution if you have asthma, it may exacerbate asthma symptoms.
- Use with caution if you have diabetes, chondroitin may affect blood sugar levels.
Common side effects of chondroitin sulfate include:
- Stomach upset
- Epigastric pain
- Swelling (edema) of eyelid and lower limb
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Extra heartbeats (extrasystoles)
- Allergic reactions
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of chondroitin sulfate?
Labeling of chondroitin sulfate products may not be accurate. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate product and dosing for you.
- 200-400 mg orally twice or thrice daily, OR
- 1000-1200 mg orally once daily
- Also used in combo with glucosamine
Prophylaxis for recurrent myocardial infarction (MI)
- Initial: 10 g orally divided thrice daily for 3 months THEN
- Maintenance: 500 mg orally thrice daily
Chondroitin sulfate overdose is unlikely to cause severe adverse reactions. Overdose may cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, which should resolve with discontinuation of chondroitin sulfate and sufficient fluid intake.
What drugs interact with chondroitin sulfate?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Chondroitin sulfate has no known severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- There isn’t enough information on the safety of chondroitin sulfate use by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Do not use any dietary supplement without first checking with your healthcare provider, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What else should I know about chondroitin sulfate?
- Chondroitin sulfate is likely safe for most adults in recommended doses.
- Use chondroitin sulfate exactly as prescribed or as per label instructions.
- Check with your healthcare provider before taking any nutritional supplement, including chondroitin sulfate, particularly if you have any health conditions or if you are on regular medications.
- Dietary supplements often contain many ingredients. Check labels for the components in the chondroitin sulfate product you choose.
- Inaccurate labeling in chondroitin sulfate products is a concern. Some products may contain no chondroitin and some may contain more than the stated amount. Exercise caution and purchase products only from manufacturers of good repute.
- Chondroitin sulfate is marketed as a dietary supplement and is not regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents; exercise caution in choosing your product.
- Store chondroitin sulfate safely out of reach of children.
- In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.
Chondroitin is commercially produced either synthetically or from natural sources such as shark or cow cartilage, or algae. Chondroitin sulfate is often combined with other substances that promote bone and joint health and is available over the counter (OTC) in the U.S. Do not use if you have any blood clotting/bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood-thinning medications. Chondroitin can increase the risk of bleeding. Common side effects of chondroitin sulfate include stomach upset, nausea, epigastric pain, constipation, diarrhea, swelling (edema) of eyelid and lower limb, hair loss (alopecia), extra heartbeats (extrasystoles), and allergic reactions.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Osteoarthritis (OA): Treatment, Symptoms, Diagnosis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease most often affecting major joints such as knees, hands, back, or hips....
Osteoporosis Super-Foods for Strong Bones With Pictures
What sweetener is loaded with calcium? These bone-building super foods can help stave off osteoporosis, and many of them will...
What Is Osteoporosis? Treatment, Symptoms, Medication
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and density. Osteoporosis causes symptoms of weak, thin, fragile bones....
Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Learn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and...
Osteoarthritis Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
How does osteoarthritis differ from other types of arthritis? Learn about osteoarthritis with this quiz.
Osteoporosis Quiz: What is Osteoporosis?
What are the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of osteoporosis? Quiz yourself about vitamin deficiency, maintaining bone...
Picture of Osteoporosis
Thinning of the bones with reduction in bone mass due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. See a picture of Osteoporosis and...
Picture of Osteoporosis Progression
Bone mass (bone density) is the amount of bone present in the skeletal structure. See a picture of Osteoporosis Progression and...
Picture of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more...
Tips for Healthy Joints: Exercise, Nutrition, & More
Dealing with joint pain and arthritis? Learn why weight matters--and why NOT to stretch before exercise. See these solutions for...
Osteoarthritis: Guide to Hip Replacement
Ready for a hip replacement? Find out what to expect, from the day of hip surgery until months after your hip replacement.
Osteoarthritis: 15 Tips to Improve Daily Living With OA
Have arthritis in the knee? Osteoarthritis joint pain can make it hard to carry out activities of daily living. Cartilage...
Osteoporosis: Simple Steps to Boost Bone Health
Your bones tend to weaken as you age. But it's not unavoidable. Here are things you can do to keep them as strong as possible.
Fun With Kids? Don't Let Arthritis Stop You
You can still have lots of fun with children despite arthritis. Our experts uncover ways to spend time with your kids or...
Active Living with Osteoarthritis
Check out this slideshow on Active Living From Day to Night with Osteoarthritis. Even with arthritis you can keep your active...
Related Disease Conditions
Osteoarthritis (OA or Degenerative Arthritis)
Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Osteoarthritis can be caused by aging, heredity, and injury from trauma or disease.
What Organs Are Affected By Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes your bones to be weak and more likely to break. Organs affected by osteoporosis include the ovaries and thyroid gland.
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis Differences and Similarities
Arthritis is defined as painful inflammation and joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis and the most common cause of chronic joint pain, affecting over 25 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that involves the entire joint. Osteoporosis is not a type of arthritis. It is a disease that mainly is caused by a loss of bone tissue that is not limited to the joint areas. It is possible for one person to have both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The differences in the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis include; pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, joint deformity, crackle sounds when the joint is moving, and walking with a limp. Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because it can progress for years without signs and symptoms before it is diagnosed, severe back pain, bone fractures, height loss, and difficulty or inability to walk. The differences in the causes of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are that osteoarthritis usually is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Osteoporosis usually is caused by one or more underlying problems, for example, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Treatment for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are not the same. There is no cure for osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
Can Drinking Soda Cause Osteoporosis?
Drinking soda and carbonated beverages significantly lowers bone density, which can cause osteoporosis to develop over time.
Does Glucosamine Chondroitin Really Work?
Research is still underway to determine the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin, and while the evidence is conflicting, they do seem to provide some pain relief for knee osteoarthritis in some individuals.
Can You Reverse Osteoporosis With Diet and Exercise?
While you can work to prevent or manage osteoporosis, you cannot stop it. However, the more you know about the disease itself and the different treatments, the better you can prevent or treat your osteoporosis. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are often thought to help.
Arthritis in Knee: 4 Stages of Osteoarthritis
Painful joint swelling is called arthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to wear and tear of the joints over many years. Arthritis maye develop in any joint, including the fingers, hips and knees. Usually, patients with arthritis feel pain in their joints even after moderate movements. There are four stages of osteoarthritis of the knee.
What Is The Main Cause of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disorder. Learn more about osteoporosis, what causes it, common symptoms, how it's diagnosed, and what you can do to treat it.
Which Osteoporosis Medications Build Bone?
Osteoporosis medications that help build bone include Forteo, Tymlos, and Evenity. Learn more about how osteoporosis is diagnosed and treated.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are chronic joint disorders. RA is also an autoimmune disease. OA and RA symptoms and signs include joint pain, warmth, and tenderness. Over-the-counter pain relievers treat both diseases. There are several prescription medications that treat RA.
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Osteoporosis?
Learn the six early warning signs of osteoporosis, which is often caused by an increased amount of calcium leaching into the bloodstream.
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis Hands
Two of the most frequent types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is the Difference Between Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?
Arthritis is a broad term that refers to the inflammation of the joints. There are over 100 types of arthritis, and osteoarthritis is the most common type.
What Is the Main Cause of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic degenerative disease of the joints affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It involves the breakdown of cartilage and associated inflammatory changes in the adjacent bone. It is a leading cause of chronic disability, affecting 30 million people in the United States alone.
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis?
Bones are uniquely constructed to carry the weight of our bodies and to perform other functions, such as growing blood cells. They are living structures that are continually being built and broken down. The best way way to prevent osteoporosis is to get enough calcium, vitamin D and exercise.
Can Osteoarthritis Be Cured?
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured or reversed; however, effective treatment can reduce its progression and slow down complications.
What Are the 4 Signs of Osteoarthritis?
The signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis may vary depending on the severity of the condition. Learn four signs, two types, and other associated conditions.
Osteoarthritis and Treatment
Painful swelling of the joints due to wear and tear over many years is called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis may develop in any joint that includes the fingers, hips, and knees. There are many treatment options available to curb the complications of arthritis.
What Are the Best Exercises for Osteoporosis?
What is osteoporosis and how can exercise help? Learn the best exercises for living with osteoporosis and how exercise can improve bone density.
What Is the Best Exercise for Osteoporosis?
Most any exercise is great for osteoporosis, but the most important are weight-bearing exercises and muscle strengthening exercises.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Osteoporosis FAQs
- Osteoarthritis FAQs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis
- Osteoporosis - Bone Up On Estrogen...Women's Health
- Osteoarthritis - Vitamin D May Prevent Progression
- Osteoporosis Prevention & Treatment - Medications, Fluoride, Monitoring
- Thyroid Disease, Osteoporosis and Calcium
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: What is it?
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Effectiveness
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Indications
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Success
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Side Effects
- Chondroitin Sulfate &Glucosamine: Proper Use
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Other Use
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Benefits
- Chondroitin & Glucosamine & NSAID's
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Supervision
- Can You Get a Cartilage Transplant?
- What Is Cervical Osteoarthritis?
- What Is the Prognosis for Osteoarthritis?
- What Kind of Joint Injections Treat Osteoarthritis?
- What Are the Side Effects of Glucosamine?
- Can Synthroid Taken for Hypothyroidism Cause Osteoporosis?
- What Causes Arthritis and Baker's Cyst?
- Can You Be Too Young for a Knee Replacement?
- What Causes Early Onset of Hip Osteoarthritis?
- Are Women More Susceptible to Osteoarthritis?
- Osteoarthritis of the Hands
- How Do You Treat a Spine Fracture from Osteoporosis?
- Osteoarthritis vs. Carpal Tunnel: What's the Difference?
- Can You Prevent Osteoarthritis?
- What Are the Best Exercises for Osteoporosis?
- How Can You Prevent Osteoporosis?
- What Food Can I Eat to Prevent Osteoporosis?
- Does Hashimoto's Affect Heart Disease and Osteoporosis?
- Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Arthritis Newsletter
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.