Ergot has an interesting history. During the Middle Ages, ergotism, a severe reaction to ergot-contaminated food (such as rye bread), was common and was known as St. Anthony's fire. Also, some historians believe that ergot played a role in the Salem witch hunt of 1692. They think that some women in Salem developed peculiar behaviors and accused other women of being witches as a result of eating ergot-contaminated food.
Despite serious safety concerns, ergot has been used as medicine. People use ergot for excessive bleeding during menstrual periods, to expel placenta after childbirth, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Certain chemicals in ergot are used in prescription medicines.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
Special Precautions and Warnings
Heart disease: Ergot can narrow blood vessels and make heart disease worse.
Kidney disease: People with kidney problems are not able to flush ergot out of their bodies well enough. This can cause ergot to build up, and that increases the risk of ergot poisoning.
Liver disease: People with liver problems are not able to remove ergot from their bodies well enough. This can cause ergot to build up, and that increases the risk of ergot poisoning.
Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the legs and feet (peripheral vascular disease): Ergot can narrow blood vessels and make this condition worse.
Ergot Derivatives interacts with ERGOT
Ergot contains the same chemicals as ergot derivatives in prescription medications. Taking ergot supplements with prescription ergot derivatives can increase the effects and side effects of ergot.
Some of these ergot derivatives include bromocriptine (Parlodel), dihydroergotamine (Migranal, DHE-45), ergotamine (Cafergot), and pergolide (Permax).
Medications that decrease break down of other medications in the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) inhibitors) interacts with ERGOT
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Some medications might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down ergot. Taking ergot along with some medications that decrease the break-down of other medications in the liver can increase the effects and side effects of ergot. Before taking ergot, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications that might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down ergot include amiodarone (Cordarone), clarithromycin (Biaxin), diltiazem (Cardizem), erythromycin (E-mycin, Erythrocin), indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase), and many others.
Stimulant drugs interacts with ERGOT
Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. Speeding up the nervous system can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Ergot might also speed up the nervous system. Taking ergot along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with ergot.
Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.
Serotonergic drugs interacts with ERGOT
Ergot can increase a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Some medications also increase serotonin. Taking ergot along with these medications might increase serotonin too much. This can cause serious side effects including severe headache, heart problems, shivering, confusion, and anxiety.
Some of these medications include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig), rizatriptan (Maxalt), methadone (Dolophine), tramadol (Ultram), and many others.
Be cautious with this combination
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© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.