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Drug (Medication) Interactions for Glucosamine and Chondroitin

None reported as of 10/08

Special Notes:
Sulfa Drugs - Despite the similar name, there has been no cross-reactions between sulfur drugs (such as some antibiotics like Bactrim or Septra) and glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. The "sulfate" suffix listed after supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin refers to sulfur salts, not sulfur that is bound into ring structure of Sulfa Drugs. The characteristic benzene ring with a sulfanilamide group is the probable culprit in Sulfa Drug allergy. This drug allergy affects about 10-15% of the population.

To date, no person allergic to sulfur drugs has had a serious reaction with the elemental sulfur in the supplements. Elemental sulfur is a required nutrient in the body and is found in every cell. Furthermore, virtually all foods we eat contain sulfur.

Coumadin (warfarin sodium) - Glucosamine and chondroitin do not appear to effect blood clotting. Many people use these supplements despite taking the "blood thinner" Coumadin.

There is a concern about unpure chondroitin products that contain a cousin of chondroitin called dermatan sulfate. Dermatan sulfate (sometimes erroneously called chondroitin B) can prolong bleeding time.

I believe the concern with prolonged bleeding is not well justified with the recommended brands. Nevertheless, it's important to let your physician know that you plan to use the supplements. Your doctor may keep a closer eye on your blood tests just to be sure. Not everyone responds the same way to drugs or supplements.


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