5-HTP is a chemical byproduct of the protein building block L-tryptophan. It is produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation.
Since 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is used for conditions in which serotonin is believed to play an important role. These include depression, anxiety, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
Possibly Ineffective for
Some people who have taken 5-HTP have developed a serious health condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). Some people think EMS might be caused by an accidental contaminant in some 5-HTP products. But there's not enough scientific evidence to know if EMS is caused by 5-HTP, a contaminant, or some other factor. Until more is known, 5-HTP should be used cautiously.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Some people who have taken 5-HTP have developed a serious health condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). Some people think EMS might be caused by an accidental contaminant in some 5-HTP products. But there's not enough scientific evidence to know if EMS is caused by 5-HTP, a contaminant, or some other factor. Until more is known, 5-HTP should be used cautiously. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if 5-HTP is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: It is possibly safe for children to take 5-HTP by mouth at appropriate doses. In children under 12 years of age, 5-HTP seems to be safe at a dose of up to 5 mg/kg daily for up to 3 years.
Surgery: 5-HTP can affect a brain chemical called serotonin. Some drugs administered during surgery can also affect serotonin. Taking 5-HTP before surgery might cause too much serotonin in the brain and can result in serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Tell patients to stop taking 5-HTP at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Carbidopa (Lodosyn) interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP can affect the brain. Carbidopa can also affect the brain. Taking 5-HTP along with carbidopa can increase the risk of serious side effects including rapid speech, anxiety, aggressiveness, and others.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Some medications, called sedatives, can also cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking 5-HTP with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.
Serotonergic drugs interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications also have this effect. Taking 5-HTP along with these medications might increase serotonin too much. This might cause serious side effects including heart problems, seizures, and vomiting.
Be cautious with this combination
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
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© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.