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amino acids

Sep 18, 2003

Will taking a dose of 100 mg of 5-hydroxy tryptophan ( to aid sleep) interfere with any of my meds?

Response from Dr. Horwath

Taking 5-hydroxytryptophan may not interfere with any of your medications, but there are some other issues you should think about. In the late 1980s, a severe adverse reaction known as eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) was linked to the use of L-tryptophan supplements. EMS was attributed to contaminants in tryptophan powder. As a result, in 1989, the FDA issued a nationwide recall and ban of products containing tryptophan. By 8/90, 1536 cases of EMS had been reported from all 50 states, including 27 deaths (Milburn 1991). After the ban of L-tryptophan in 1989, some manufacturers began distributing related products, including 5-hydroxytryptophan. In August 1998, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota reported that a contaminant associated with the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome had been found in 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).

You might want to consider this information in deciding whether taking 5-HTP is safe. There are some drug interaction issues as well. Since tryptophan and 5-HTP are converted to serotonin, it would be unwise to administer either of these compounds in combination with MAO-inhibitors, SSRIs (fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram, escitalopram), or antimigraine agents like sumatriptan. Combining 5-HTP with MAO inhibitors, SSRIs, or sumatriptan can lead to a condition known as serotonin syndrome. The symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sedation, dizziness, sweating, facial flushing, mental status changes, restlessness, shivering, and increased blood pressure.

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