Side Effects

The Side Effects and Risks of Arthritis Medications vs. Glucosamine Side Effects

So, your doctor has just told you that you have some arthritis to deal with. (Osteoarthritis) And of course, your primary concern is pain management. Let’s take a look at what some of the “medications” that may be recommended by the doctor and also the side effects that you should be concerned with. As well, there are some risks that have to be considered.


Analgesics are a class of pain relievers that are often used by those suffering from Osteoarthritis. Their function is to relieve your pain. They do so I might add, even though they do not reduce inflammation.


Tylenol by its technical name is acetaminophen. It is frequently used by those suffering from OA and it is recommended by their physicians. This over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever can reduce pain. There is no doubt that in most cases, it does that.

 It is available in forms from tablet; gel cap; capsules; and, even liquid. However, there are some serious cautions about using acetaminophen. First, the limit on daily use is 3,000 mg. And, long-term use can damage your liver or even cause it to fail. There is also a warning not to drink more than three alcoholic beverages a day when using acetaminophen. In fact, those who do consume three alcoholic drinks a day may not be able to use acetaminophen.

A little stronger pain medication?

Narcotic Analgesics

Narcotic analgesics are available only by prescription and they include Hydrocodone; Codeine; and, Oxycodone. With this class of drug you are almost certainly going to get pain relief but the other side of the coin is that there are definite side effects.

With moderate to severe OA pain, your physician may feel that these drugs are appropriate to treat your pain. But, there are some really serious issues when using them.

First, the side effects include constipation, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. And unfortunately, an individual using these drugs may develop a tolerance to them which in turn requires stronger doses to be effective. Even worse, they can be habit forming. You are now getting into an area of being a heavy drug user, or worse.


NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are also available over the counter. And, while NSAIDs do help with pain, again they do not address inflammation which can play a big role in arthritis pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Naproxen are often used by arthritis sufferers.

Prescription NSAIDs

Prescription NSAIDs up the ante in terms of pain relief. Voltaren® (diclofenac); Naprosyn® (naproxen); and, Daypro (oxaprozin) to name a few. They do have the ability to reduce inflammation and can reduce pain symptoms. However, they have some very serious side effects.

NSAIDs can increase the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. That becomes even more prevalent with higher doses being used. And, they can cause kidney and liver problems as well. Ulcers and bleeding in the stomach has also been reported.

So, with that brief look at potential side effects of using these drugs, let’s take a look at Glucosamine.

Side Effects of using Glucosamine: Are there any?

Literally, millions of individuals take Glucosamine every day in the United States alone. And, reports of “side effects” are few and far between.

If you read product descriptions by sellers of Glucosamine products, they almost uniformly tell you that there are no side effects when using Glucosamine. This writer thinks it is more accurate to say that there may be side effects but they can be avoided. Let’s take a look at how you can do this.

Side effects and how to avoid them

If you want to talk about side effects of taking Glucosamine it is generally in one part of your body. Your gastrointestinal system. So, what are we talking about in terms of side effects here?

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • An increase in intestinal gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Now, I think it is safe to say that these “side effects” are hardly in the same category as heart attacks or strokes. Nonetheless, there is no reason for you to suffer any of them by using this easy approach.

Take Glucosamine right after eating

For nearly everyone who uses Glucosamine, it is extremely rare to have any of those side effects listed above. By the same token, why even open that door if you don’t have to?

Again, it is rare for anyone to have any indication of side effects. And, if you will take your Glucosamine right after eating, you have likely eliminated any chance of experiencing any side effects.

There is this observation as well. If taken in pill or capsule form, you may increase the risk of potential side effects. That is due to the fact that the absorption into your body is very slow with pills and capsule forms of Glucosamine. Our studies indicate that pills and capsules (which contain ‘fillers and binders’ only absorb at a rate of about 17%) and may cause extra stomach distress.

On the other hand, liquid formulas like Synflex® liquid Glucosamine are absorbed at a rate of about 83%. That manufacturer reports sales in excess of 1 million bottles and they have had no complaints about side effects. 


As a final note: If you use a liquid Glucosamine wisely, you should have no issues whatsoever.

If you would like to read some of our success stories, view our testimonials page.

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