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5-htp

What is it?

5-HTP is a supplement used to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia (cannot sleep or remain asleep), obesity, and other eating problems. It may also be used to treat headaches, pain, or behavior problems.

Other names for 5-HTP include: 5-hydroxytryptophan, L-5-HTP, and oxitriptan.

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 breast feeding
  • have other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease
  • are taking SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) anti-depression medicine

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much 5-HTP you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking 5-HTP. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more 5-HTP 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 Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need.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 5-HTP without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Medicine for depression (examples: sertraline (Zoloft(R)), paroxetine (Paxil(R)), fluoxetine (Prozac(R)), citalopram (Celexa(R)), isocarboxazid (Marplan(R)), selegiline (Eldepryl(R)), tranylcypromine (Parnate(R)))
  • Medicine used to treat Parkinson's Disease (examples: carbidopa (Parcopa(TM), Sinemet(R)))

Warnings:

  • Before taking 5-HTP, tell your doctor if you are taking SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) anti-depression medicine

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.

  • Nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up), diarrhea (loose stools)
  • Headache, walking problems, feeling calm, restless, or anxious

References:

1. van Praag HM: Studies in the mechanism of action of serotonin precursors in depression. Psychopharmacol Bull 1984a; 20(3):599-602.

2. Nardini M, DeStefano R, Iannuccelli M et al: Treatment of depression with L-5-hydroxytryptophan combined with chlorimipramine, a double-blind study. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1983; 3(4):239-250.

3. Kline N & Sacks W: Relief of depression within one day using an MAO inhibitor and intravenous 5-HTP. Am J Psychiatry 1963; 120:274-275.

4. Kahn RS & Westenberg HGM: L-5-hydroxytryptophan in the treatment of anxiety disorders. J Affective Disorders 1985; 8:197-200.

5. Kahn RS, Westenberg HGM, Verhoeven WMA et al: Effect of a serotonin precursor and uptake inhibitor in anxiety disorders; a double-blind comparison of 5-hydroxytrytophan, clomipramine, and placebo. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 1987; 2(1):33-45.

6.Sarzi Puttini P & Caruso I: Primary fibromyalgia syndrome and 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan : a 90 day open study. J Int Med Res 1992; 20(2):182-189.

7. Caruso L, Sarzi Puttini P, Cazzola M et al: Double-blind study of 5-hydroxytryptophan versus placebo in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome. J Int Med Res 1990; 18 (3):201-209.

8. Ribeiro CAF: L-5-hydroxytrytophan in the prophylaxis of chronic tension-type headache: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Headache 2000; 40(6):451-456.

9. DiGiorgis G, Miletto R, Iannuccelli M et al: Headache in association with sleep disorders in children: a psychodiagnostic evaluation and controlled clinical study-L-5-HTP versus placebo. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1987; 13(7):425-433.

10.Titus F, Davalos A, Alom J et al: 5-Hydroxytryptophan versus methysergide in prophylaxis of migraine. Eur Neurol 1986; 25(5):327-329.

11. DeBenedictis G & Massei R: Serotonin precursors in chronic primary headache: a double-blind cross-over study with L-5-hydroxytryptophan vs placebo. J Neurosurg Sci 1985; 29(3):239-248.

12. Cangiano C, Laviano A, Del Ben M et al: Effects of oral 5-hydroxy-tryptophan on energy intake and macronutrient selection in non-insulin dependent diabetic patients. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1998; 22(7):648-654.

13. Cangiano C, Laviano A, Ceci F et al: 5-Hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP) and eating behavior in non-insulin dependent diabetic patients (NIDDP). Neuro Endocrinol Lett 1992; 14:274.

14. Cangiano C, Ceci F, Cascino A et al: Eating behavior and adherence to dietary prescriptions in obese adult subjects treated with 5-hydroxytryptophan. Am J Clin Nutr 1992a; 56(5):863-867.

15. Ceci F, Cangiano C, Cairella M et al: The effects of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan administration on feeding behavior in obese adult female subjects. J Neural Transm 1989; 76:109-117.

16. Autret A, Minz M, Beillevaire T et al: Clinical and polygraphic effects of d, 1-HTP on narcolepsy-cataplexy. Biomedicine 1977; 27(5):200-203.

17. Abraham HD: L-5-hydroxytryptophan for LSD-induced psychosis. Am J Psychiatry 1983; 140:456-458.


Last Updated: 1/4/2010

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