St. John's Wort
In this Article
- What other names is St. John's Wort known by?
- What is St. John's Wort?
- Is St. John's Wort effective?
- How does St. John's Wort work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for St. John's Wort.
St. John's wort is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large doses. When taken by mouth in large doses, it might cause severe reactions to sun exposure. Wear sun block outside, especially if you are light-skinned.
St. John's wort interacts with many drugs (see the section below). Let your healthcare provider know if you want to take St. John's wort. Your healthcare provider will want to review your medications to see if there could be any problems.
There isn't enough reliable information available to know if St. John's wort is safe when it is applied to the skin. St. John's wort might cause severe reactions to sun exposure.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: St. John's wort is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. There is some evidence that it can cause birth defects in unborn rats. No one yet knows whether it has the same effect in unborn humans. Nursing infants of mothers who take St. John's wort can experience colic, drowsiness, and listlessness. Until more is known, do not use St. John's wort if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Children: St. John's work is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 8 weeks in children 6-17 years-old.
Alzheimer's disease: There is concern that St. John's wort might contribute to dementia in people with Alzheimer's disease.
Anesthesia: Use of anesthesia in people who have used St. John's wort for 6 months may lead to serious heart complications during surgery. Stop using St. John's wort at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): There is some concern that St. John's wort might worsen symptoms of ADHD, especially in people taking the medication methylphenidate for ADHD. Until more is known, don't use St. John's wort if you are taking methylphenidate.
Bipolar disorder: People with bipolar disorder cycle between depression and mania, a state marked by excessive physical activity and impulsive behavior. St. John's wort can bring on mania in these individuals and can also speed up the cycling between depression and mania.
Depression: In people with major depression, St. John's wort might bring on mania, a state marked by excessive physical activity and impulsive behavior.
Infertility: There are some concerns that St. John's wort might interfere with conceiving a child. If you are trying to conceive, don't use St. John's wort, especially if you have known fertility problems.
Schizophrenia: St. John's wort might bring on psychosis in some people with schizophrenia.
Surgery: St. John's wort might affect serotonin levels in the brain and as a result interfere with surgical procedures. Stop using St. John's wort at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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