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Glutamine

What is it?

Glutamine is an amino acid that is found naturally in our bodies. It is used as a supplement for cancer, infections, inflammatory bowel disease, malabsorption (trouble getting food products into the body), weight loss, and ulcers. Glutamine is also used during chemotherapy, critical illness, and bowel surgery. It is used by athletes to increase strength.

Other names for glutamine include: L-glutamine and levoglutamine.

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
  • you have severe liver damage, kidney failure, or Reye's syndrome (8,9)
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much glutamine you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Glutamine. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

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 Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need.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:

Glutamine may interact with other medicines you may be taking. Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse before taking glutamine with any other medicine.

Warnings:

  • Before taking glutamine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You should not take this medication if you have severe liver damage, kidney failure, or Reye's syndrome (8,9)
  • Taking large amounts of glutamine may cause mania (hyperactivity and a 'high' feeling) (3)

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, 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.

  • Bloating, constipation (trouble having a bowel movement), and upset stomach (8,10)
  • Joint pain (11)

References:

1. Rogers LL, Pelton RB: Glutamine in the treatment of alcoholism Quart. J of Studies on Alcohol 1957;18(4):581-587.

2. Rogers LL, Pelton RB, Williams RJ: Voluntary alcohol consumption by rats following administration of glutamine. J Biological Chem 1956; 220(1):321-323.

3. Werbach MR & Murray MT: Botanical influences on Illness: a sourcebook of clinical research. Third Line Press, Tarzana CA; 1994.

4. Buttersworth R, Landreville F, Hamel E et al: Effect of asparagine, glutamine and insulin on cerebral amino acid neurotransmitters. J Can Sci Neurol 1980;27(4):447-450.

5. Yoshida S, Matsui M, Shirouzu Y et al: Effects of glutamine supplements and radiochemotherapy on systemic immune and gut barrier function in patients with advanced esophageal cancer. Ann Surg 1998; 227(4):485-491.

6. Den Hond E, Hiele M, Peters M et al: Effect of long-term oral glutamine supplements on small intestinal permeability in patients with Crohn's disease. JPEN 1999; 23:7-11.

7. Den Hond E, Peeters M, Hiele M et al: Effect of glutamine on the intestinal permeability changes induced by indomethacin in humans. Ahment Pharmacol Ther 1999; 13:679-685.

8. Fraser CL & Arieff AI: Hepatic encephalopathy. New Engl J Med 1985; 313(14):865-873.

9. Evans MA & Shronts EP: Intestinal fuels: glutamine, short-chain fatty acids, and dietary fiber. J Am Diet Assoc 1992; 92(10):1239-1246, 1249.

10. Brown SA, Goringe A, Fegan C et al: Parenteral glutamine protects hepatic function during bone marrow transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplantation 1998; 22:281-284.

11. Product Information: NutreStore(TM), L-glutamine powder for oral solution. Anderson Packaging, Inc., Rockford, IL, 2004.


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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