Betel nut is used for schizophrenia, a group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma), poor digestion, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Using betel nut might also be unsafe.
Some people use betel nut as a recreational drug because it speeds up the central nervous system (CNS).
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Schizophrenia. Early research suggests that chewing betel nut might reduce symptoms in some people with schizophrenia. But using betel nut for a long time can be unsafe.
- Stroke. Early research suggests that taking a solution containing betel nut extract might improve speech, strength, and bladder function in people who have had a stroke.
- Aiding in digestion.
- Other conditions.
Chewing betel nut can make your mouth, lips, and stool turn red. It can cause stimulant effects similar to caffeine and tobacco use. It can also cause more severe effects including vomiting, diarrhea, gum problems, increased saliva, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, chest pain, abnormal heart beat, low blood pressure, shortness of breath and rapid breathing, heart attack, coma, and death.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Chewing betel nut can make your mouth, lips, and stool turn red. It can cause stimulant effects similar to caffeine and tobacco use. It can also cause more severe effects including vomiting, diarrhea, gum problems, increased saliva, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, chest pain, abnormal heart beat, low blood pressure, shortness of breath and rapid breathing, heart attack, coma, and death. It's LIKELY UNSAFE for anyone to take betel nut by mouth for more than a short time. But betel nut is especially dangerous for people with the following conditions:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking betel nut by mouth is LIKELY UNSAFE. Betel nut can affect the central nervous system and this might endanger a pregnancy. Chemicals in betel nut might pass into breast milk and harm a nursing infant. Stay on the safe side and avoid using betel nut if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Asthma: Betel nut might make asthma worse.
Slow heart rate (bradycardia): Betel nut might slow down the heart beat. This could be a problem in people who already have a slow heart rate.
Heart disease: People with heart disease might have an increased risk of having a heart attack if they use betel nut. If you have heart disease, do not use betel nut.
Gastrointestinal tract blockage: Betel nut might cause "congestion" in the intestines. This might cause problems in people who have a blockage in their intestines.
Stomach ulcers: Betel nut might increase secretions in the stomach and intestines. There is concern that this could worsen ulcers.
Lung conditions: Betel nut might increase fluid secretions in the lung. There is concern that this could worsen lung conditions, such as asthma or emphysema.
Seizures: There is concern that betel nut might increase the risk of seizures.
Urinary tract obstruction: Betel nut might increase secretions in the urinary tract. There is concern that this could worsen urinary obstruction.
Drying medications (Anticholinergic drugs) interacts with BETEL NUT
Betel nut contains chemicals that can affect the brain and heart. Some drying medications can also affect the brain and heart. But betel nut works differently than drying medications. Betel nut might decrease the effects of drying medications.
Some of these drying medications include atropine, scopolamine, and some medications used for allergies (antihistamines), and for depression (antidepressants).
Various medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer disease, and other conditions (Cholinergic drugs) interacts with BETEL NUT
Betel nut contains a chemical that affects the body. This chemical is similar to some medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer disease, and other conditions. Taking betel nut with these medications might increase the chance of side effects.
Some of these medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer disease, and other conditions include pilocarpine (Pilocar and others), donepezil (Aricept), tacrine (Cognex), and others.
Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with BETEL NUT
Betel nut might increase the amount of a chemical in the brain. This chemical is called serotonin. Some medications used for depression also increase serotonin. Taking betel nut with these medications used for depression might cause there to be too much serotonin. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.
Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin, others) interacts with BETEL NUT
There is some concern that betel nut might cause mouth sores in people being treated with doxorubicin for cancer. Until more is known, avoid betel nut if you are being treated with doxorubicin.
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.