Skip to Content

Chondroitin Sulfate


Laura Shane-McWhorter

, PharmD, University of Utah College of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020

Chondroitin sulfate is a natural component of cartilage. It is extracted from shark or cow cartilage or manufactured synthetically. It is frequently combined with glucosamine.

(See also Overview of Dietary Supplements.)

Medicinal claims

People most often take chondroitin sulfate by mouth for osteoarthritis. For arthritis, it is frequently taken along with glucosamine. Scientific evidence shows little benefit when chondroitin sulfate is taken by itself, although quality of life may improve. In Europe, pharmaceutical grade chondroitin, available by prescription, may help osteoarthritis symptoms. In the United States, evidence suggests that combined with glucosamine, chondroitin may reduce joint pain and improve joint mobility.

Possible side effects

Chondroitin sulfate seems to have no serious side effects. Among the most common side effects are stomach pain, nausea, and other digestive tract symptoms. However, unless the chondroitin sulfate is pharmaceutical grade, it has the potential to transmit infections with bacteria, viruses, or prions.

Possible drug interactions

Chondroitin sulfate may also increase the action of drugs that prevent blood clots (anticoagulants) such as warfarin.

More Information about Chondroitin Sulfate

The following is an English-language resource that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: General information on the use of chondroitin sulfate as a dietary supplement

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
warfarin COUMADIN

Copyright © 2022 Merck & Co., Inc., known as MSD outside of the US, Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA. All rights reserved. Merck Manual Disclaimer