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Creatine

What is it?

Creatine is a dietary supplement used to increase muscle mass and performance. It has also been used to lower cholesterol (blood fat) and treat heart failure and other diseases due to creatine deficiencies.

Other names for creatine include: creatine citrate, creatine monohydrate, and creatine phosphate.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have dehydration (low water in body) or kidney problems
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about how much creatine you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking creatine. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more creatine or take it more often than what is written on the directions.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take creatine without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Ma huang (herbal medicine also known as ephedra or ephedrine)

Warnings:

  • Before taking creatine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not take creatine if you have kidney problems or are dehydrated (not enough body water) (4,5,6)
  • Do not take caffeine or caffeine-containing products while taking creatine

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects.

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash.

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Diarrhea or stomach problems (6)
  • Weight gain, water retention, and heat intolerance have been reported (7)

References:

1. Willams MH & Branch JD: Creatine supplementation and exercise performance: an update. J Am Coll Nutr 1998; 17:216-234.

2. Clark JF: Creatine: a review of its nutritional applications in sport. Nutrition 1998; 14:322-324.

3. McNaughton LR, Dalton B & Tarr J: The effects of Creatine supplementation on high-intensity exercise performance in elite performers. Eur J Appl Physiol 1998; 78: 236-240.

4. Pritchard NR & Kalra PA: Renal dysfunction accompanying oral Creatine supplements. Lancet 1998; 351:1252-1253.

5. Greenhaff P: Renal dysfunction accompanying oral Creatine supplements. Lancet 1998; 352:233-234.

6. Barrette EP: Creatine supplementation for enhancement of athletic performance. Altern Med Alert 1998; 1(7):73-76.

7. Clark JF: Creatine: a review of its nutritional applications in sport. Nutrition 1998; 14:322-324.

8. Andrews R, Greenhaff P, Curtis S et al: The effect of dietary creatine supplementation on skeletal muscle metabolism in congestive heart failure. Eur Heart J 1998; 19:617-622.

9. Vorgerd M, Grehl T, Jager M et al: Creatine therapy in myophosphorylase deficiency (McArdle disease). Arch Neurol 2000; 57(7):956-963.

10. Vahedi K, Domigo V, Amerenco P et al: Ischaemic stroke in a sportsman who consumed ma huang extract and creatine monohydrate for body building. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2000; 68(1):112-113.


Last Updated: 11/4/2014

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