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Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Chondroitin sulfate


Chondroitin is a compound found in the flexible cartilage on the surface of joints. It has been used to ease pain and swelling in the joints. It is often taken with glucosamine when used for joint pain. Chondroitin has also been used to ease symptoms of urinary tract infection. It can be applied as a cream. Chondroitin can also be taken as a pill, powder, or eye drops. It can also be injected into muscle or into the bladder by a healthcare provider.


400 milligrams 2 to 3 times daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome —likely to improve pain and quality of life A1, A2
  • Osteoarthritis —likely to ease pain improve function C1-C10
  • Urinary tract infection —likely to reduce the rate of infection and time to recurrence D1

May Be Effective

  • Kashin-Beck disease —may reduce symptoms when taken with glucosamine B1, B2

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to apply chondroitin to the skin and to take it orally in small doses, but allergic reactions are possible.E1 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctors before taking chondroitin. It may interact with the medicine.


A. Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome

A1. De Vita D, Antell H, et al. Effectiveness of intravesical hyaluronic acid with or without chondroitin sulfate for recurrent bacterial cystitis in adult women: a meta-analysis. Int Urogynecol J. 2013 Apr;24(4):545-552.

A2. Pyo JS, Cho WJ. Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intravesical Hyaluronic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid/Chondroitin Sulfate Instillation for Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016;39(4):1618-1625.

B. Kashin-Beck Disease

B1. Zhang YX, Dong W, et al. Effects of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in adult patients with Kashin-Beck disease. Clin Rheumatol. 2010;29(4):357-362.

B2. Yue J, Yang M, et al. Chondroitin sulfate and/or glucosamine hydrochloride for Kashin-Beck disease: a cluster-randomized, placebo-controlled study. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012;20(7):622-629.

C. Osteoarthritis

C1. Lee YH, Woo JH, et al. Effect of glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate on the osteoarthritis progression: a meta-analysis. Rheumatol Int. 2010;30(3):357-363.

C2. Hochberg MC. Structure-modifying effects of chondroitin sulfate in knee osteoarthritis: an updated meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials of 2-year duration. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010;1:28-31.

C3. Gabay C, Medinger-Sadowski C, et al. Symptomatic effects of chondroitin 4 and chondroitin 6 sulfate on hand osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial at a single center. Arthritis Rheum. 2011;61(11):3383-3391.

C4. Singh JA, Noorbaloochi S, et al. Chondroitin for osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;1:CD005614.

C5. Zeng C, Wei J, et al. Effectiveness and safety of Glucosamine, chondroitin, the two in combination, or celecoxib in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. 2015;5:16827.

C6. Zhu X, Sang L, et al. Effectiveness and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Orthop Surg Res. 2018;13(1):170.

C7. Simental-Mendía M, Sánchez-García A, et al. Effect of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Rheumatol Int. 2018;38(8):1413-1428.

C8. Liu X, Machado GC, et al. Dietary supplements for treating osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Feb;52(3):167-175.

C9. Zhu X, Wu D, et al. Comparative effectiveness of glucosamine, chondroitin, acetaminophen or celecoxib for the treatment of knee and/or hip osteoarthritis: a network meta-analysis. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2018 Jul-Aug;36(4):595-602.

C10. Gregori D, Giacovelli G, et al. Association of Pharmacological Treatments With Long-term Pain Control in Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2018 Dec 25;320(24):2564-2579.

D. Urinary Tract Infection

D1. Goddard JC, Janssen DAW. Intravesical hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate for recurrent urinary tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis. Int Urogynecol J. 2018 Jul;29(7):933-942.

E. Safety

E1. Vigan M. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by sodium chondroitin sulfate contained in a cosmetic cream. Contact Dermatitis. 2014 Jun;70(6):383-384.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/17/2020