St. John's wort interacts with a large number of medications. In most cases, St. John's wort decreases the effectiveness of the medication; in other cases, however, St. John's wort may increase the effects of a medication. The interaction is variable so must be discussed with your doctor. For example:
Using St. John's wort together with ethanol can increase nervous system side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with St. John's wort. Do not use more than the recommended dose of St. John's wort, and avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medication affects you. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medication without first talking to your doctor.
While you are taking St. John's wort, you must not eat or drink certain foods and beverages that are high in tyramine. Eating these foods while you are taking St. John's wort can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. This may cause life threatening symptoms such as sudden and severe headache, confusion, blurred vision, problems with speech or balance, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, seizure (convulsions), and sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body). Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms. Foods that are high in tyramine include: air dried meats, aged or fermented meats, sausage or salami, pickled herring, and any spoiled or improperly stored beef, poultry, fish, or liver, red wine, beer from a tap, beer that has not been pasteurize, aged cheeses, including blue, brick, brie, cheddar, parmesan, romano, and swiss, sauerkraut, over the counter supplements or cough and cold medicines that contain tyramine, soy beans, soy sauce, tofu, miso soup, bean curd, fava beans, or yeast extracts (such as Marmite). Caffeine intake should be limited as well.
St. John's wort may alter the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
St. John's wort may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also alter blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
St. John's wort may affect blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that affect blood pressure.
Prior to taking St Johns Wort you must speak to your doctor about how it might interact with your other medication.
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