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Arginine

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Brand Name: L-arginine, RGene-10

Generic Name: arginine

Drug Class: Diagnostics, Endocrine; Growth Hormone Releasing Factors

What Is Arginine and How Does It Work?

Arginine is a chemical building block called "an amino acid."

It is obtained from the diet and is necessary for the body to make proteins. Arginine is found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.

It can also be made in a laboratory and used as medicine.

Arginine is converted in the body into a chemical called nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow.

Arginine also stimulates the release of growth hormone, insulin, and other substances in the body.

Arginine is used for treatment of heart and blood vessel conditions including congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.

Arginine is also used for recurrent pain in the legs due to blocked arteries (intermittent claudication), decreased mental capacity in the elderly (senile dementia), erectile dysfunction (ED), and male infertility.

Some people use arginine for preventing the common cold, improving kidney function after a kidney transplant, high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), improving athletic performance, boosting the immune system, and preventing inflammation of the digestive tract in premature infants.

Arginine is used in combination with a number of over-the-counter and prescription medications for various conditions. For example, arginine is used along with ibuprofen for migraine headaches; with conventional chemotherapy drugs for treating breast cancer; with other amino acids for treating weight loss in people with AIDS; and with fish oil and other supplements for reducing infections, improving wound healing, and shortening recovery time after surgery.

Some people apply arginine to the skin to speed wound healing and for increasing blood flow to cold hands and feet, especially in people with diabetes. It is also used as a cream for sexual problems in both men and women.

Arginine is available under the following different brand names: L-arginine, and RGene-10.

Dosages of Arginine:

Adult and pediatric dosages:

Intravenous solution

  • 30 g/300 ml

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

Pituitary Stimulation

Used as a diagnostic pituitary stimulant to measure human growth hormone (hGH) reserve for conditions such as panhypopituitarism, pituitary dwarfism, chromophobe adenoma, postsurgical craniopharyngioma, hypophysectomy, pituitary trauma, acromegaly, gigantism, and problems of growth and stature.

Adult dosage: 300 mL (30 g) intravenously infused over 30 minutes

Pediatric dosage: 0.5 g/kg intravenously infused over 30 minutes; not to exceed 30 g/dose

Test procedure

  • Schedule AM
  • Fast overnight and continue through test period
  • Place patient on bed rest for at least 30 minutes before infusion begins
  • Take sample draws at -30, 0, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 minutes
  • To confirm negative response to insulin hypoglycemia test allow 1 day waiting period after insulin test patients may not respond during first test, second test may be performed after 1 day waiting period

Pediatric Dosage

Acceptable safe arginine intake:

  • Children 1-3 years: 3 mg/day
  • Children 3-8 years: 6 mg/day
  • Children 8-12 years: 11 mg/day
  • Children 13-18 years: 17 mg/day

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Arginine?

Side effects of arginine include:

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

What Other Drugs Interact with Arginine?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first.

Arginine has no known severe interactions with other drugs.

Arginine has no known serious interactions with other drugs.

Moderate interactions of arginine include:

  • amyl nitrite
  • dichlorphenamide
  • glyceryl trinitrate PR
  • isosorbide dinitrate
  • isosorbide mononitrate
  • nicorandil
  • nitroglycerin IV
  • nitroglycerin PO
  • nitroglycerin sublingual
  • nitroglycerin topical
  • nitroglycerin transdermal
  • nitroglycerin translingual
  • nitroglycerin transmucosal
  • pentaerythritol tetranitrate

Arginine has no known mild interactions with other drugs.

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns or for more information about this medicine.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Arginine?

Warnings

  • This medication contains arginine. Do not take L-arginine or RGene-10 if you are allergic to arginine or any ingredients contained in this drug
  • In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately

Contraindications

  • Hypersensitivity to product or components.

Effects of Drug Abuse

  • No information available

Short-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Arginine?"

Long-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Arginine?"

Cautions

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Use of arginine during pregnancy may be acceptable
  • Either animal studies show no risk but human studies are not available or animal studies showed minor risks and human studies were done and showed no risk
  • Arginine enters breast milk. Use caution if breastfeeding
Reviewed on 5/12/2017

Medscape. Arginine.
https://reference.medscape.com/drug/l-arginine-rgene-10-arginine-342827
RxList. Arginine.
https://www.rxlist.com/l-arginine/supplements.htm

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