Tryptophan - oral
Tryptophan - oral
In Canada, tryptophan is sold as a prescription drug to treat mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder, depression). It is usually used with other medicines. It works to make the mood more stable and reduce extremes in behavior by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin, melatonin) in the brain. Tryptophan is a natural substance (amino acid) found in high-protein foods and milk.
In the US, tryptophan is sold as a dietary supplement. It has been used to support mood, relaxation, and restful sleep. If you are taking other medications that may affect serotonin (such as many antidepressants), do not take tryptophan without talking with your doctor first. A very serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction may occur. Your doctor should closely monitor you. See also Side Effects section.
Some supplement products have been found to contain possibly harmful impurities/additives. Check with your pharmacist for more details about the brand you use.
The US FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it by mouth with a meal or snack, usually 3 to 4 times a day or as directed by your doctor. Taking this medication with food helps reduce side effects such as nausea.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may adjust your dose to find the best dose for you. Do not take this medication more often, increase your dose, or stop taking it without first consulting your doctor. Your condition will not improve faster and your risk of side effects will increase.
If your doctor has prescribed this medication, use it regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
If you are using tryptophan as a dietary supplement, take this product by mouth as directed. Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product for any mental/mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. Your condition may require medical attention or prescribed medication.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens. If you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
Nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, or dry mouth may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has prescribed this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:
This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms:
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
In the US -
Before taking tryptophan, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This product should not be used if you have the following medical condition. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have a history of:
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
A product that may interact with this drug is:
Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before and after treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.
The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy," St. John's wort, certain antidepressants (including SSRIs such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: seizures, loss of consciousness.
Do not share this medication with others. Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store the Canadian product at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. For the US product, refer to storage information printed on the package. If you have any questions about storage, ask your pharmacist. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised October 2018.
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