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  • Basic Info
Licensed from
Generic: 5-hydroxytryptophan
an herbal product - treats Obesity, Depression, Anxiety, Sleep disorders, Fibromyalgia, Seizures/epilepsy, Alcoholism, Headaches, Neurologic disorders, Psychiatric disorders, Down's syndrome, and Cerebellar ataxia

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DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.


Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to 5- HTP. Signs of allergy may include rash, itching, or shortness of breath. Urticaria ("hives") has been reported.

Side Effects and Warnings

Although 5- HTP appears to be generally well tolerated, due to potential serious adverse effects, a physician should supervise the use of 5- HTP. Cases of eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS) have been reported and although the precise role of 5- HTP in these cases remains unclear, it has been suggested that contaminants in certain batches were responsible for these adverse effects. Several thousand cases of EMS and deaths were linked to the ingestion of contaminated L- tryptophan in 1989. Avoid in patients with eosinophilia syndromes.

Palpitations, lowered blood pressure, myalgia (muscle pain), weakness, rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of skeletal muscle), eosinophilia (increased number of white blood cells), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, heartburn, diarrhea, gas, and taste alteration have been reported. Slow initiation of treatment and enteric- coated tablets has decreased gastrointestinal side effects.

Drowsiness, dizziness, vertigo, somnolence (sleepiness), insomnia, and headache are occasionally reported. Mania and euphoria have also been noted. Seizure syndrome has occurred in patients with Down's syndrome. Despite possible efficacy of 5- HTP for Down's syndrome, 5- HTP is not recommended in Down's syndrome patients.

Other potential side effects of taking 5- HTP by mouth may include transient disinhibition, euphoria, irritability, depressed mood, restlessness, rapid speech, anxiety, aggressiveness, and agitation. Weight gain has been reported in a few cases. In contrast, loss of appretite has also been reported. Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) was noted in one case.

Patients receiving both carbidopa (a drug for Parkinson's disease) and 5- HTP long- term had reductions in total cholesterol, bradycardia (slowed heart rate), hypomania (mild mania), pseudobullous morphea (chronic, degenerative disease that affects the joints, skin, and internal organs), and scleroderma- like illness.

An intravenous derivative of 5- HTP called gamma- L- glutamyl 5- HTP administered over one hour resulted in sodium retention. It is unknown if this effects was the result of the formulation, the route of administration, or the rate of infusion.

Use cautiously in patients with kidney insufficiency, as 5- HTP is eliminated through the kidneys.

Use cautiously in patients with HIV- 1 infection, in patients with existing gastrointestinal disorders, or in patients with a history of mental disorders.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

5- HTP is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. The risk of contaminants found in 5- HTP products further precludes use during pregnancy. 5- HTP may increase prolactin, a necessary hormone for milk production; 5- HTP should be avoided while breastfeeding.

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