The article gives details of a fit and healthy man aged 64 who started top take a glucosamine supplement. Shortly after starting this medication he fell ill and died of liver failure. A Consultant Gastroenterologist who treated this patient is also aware of two other cases where patients taking glucosamine have suffered reactions.
A cause and effect cannot be demonstrated but the potential for a link between the use of glucosamine and liver failure cannot yet be dismissed and is cause for concern.
Recent guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for osteoarthritis has advised clinicians that glucosamine supplements should not be prescribed.
Action: Clinicians should reflect on their prescribing practices for glucosamine. NICE do not recommend this treatment and it may not be free from risk.
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