St. john's wort

Pronunciation

Generic Name: st. john's wort (Not applicable.)
Brand Name: Generics only. No brands available.

St. john's wort is used for:

Treating mild to moderate depression, nervousness, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), and infections. It may also have other uses. Check with your pharmacist for more details regarding the particular brand you use.

St. john's wort is an herbal product. It is thought to work by balancing certain chemicals in the brain, which improves mood.

Do NOT use st. john's wort if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in st. john's wort
  • you are pregnant
  • you are taking an antidepressant, amphetamines, blood thinners (eg, warfarin), bromocriptine, narcotic analgesics, pramipexole, or ropinirole
  • you are taking or have taken a serotonin reuptake blocker (eg, fluoxetine) within the past 14 days
  • you have a history of severe depression or feel like harming yourself or others

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using st. john's wort:

Some medical conditions may interact with st. john's wort. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are planning to become pregnant or breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) or infertility

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with st. john's wort. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Aldosterone blockers (eg, eplerenone), blood thinners (eg, warfarin), benzodiazepines (eg, alprazolam), cancer chemotherapy medicines, digoxin, HIV medicines (eg, delavirdine, efavirenz, indinavir), HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (eg, simvastatin), immunosuppressants (eg, cyclosporine, tacrolimus), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; eg, fluoxetine), or verapamil because the effectiveness may be decreased by st. john's wort

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if st. john's wort may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use st. john's wort:

Use st. john's wort as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take this product with food.
  • Dosing depends on the use and the source of the product.
  • Use as directed on the package, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
  • It may take several weeks of St. John's wort use before relief of depression is noticed.
  • If you miss taking a dose of st. john's wort for 1 or more days, there is no cause for concern. If your doctor recommended that you take it, try to remember your dose every day.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use st. john's wort.

Important safety information:

  • This product may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to this product. Using this product alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks. Do not drink alcohol while taking this product.
  • St. John's wort interacts with some medicines, which may be dangerous. St. John's wort may affect the way your liver metabolizes other medicines. Check with your doctor before you begin taking any new medicine, either prescription or over-the-counter. This includes medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, l-tryptophan, herbal phen-fen products, or yohimbine.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose for this herbal product.
  • If you are taking St. John's wort for depression and your symptoms do not improve after 4 to 6 weeks of regular use, contact your doctor. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if your symptoms become worse of if your depression is severe. St. John's wort is Hypericum perforatum and should not be confused with other Hypericum species. Other Hypericum products do not have the same effects. Read the label carefully or ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking this product.
  • This product may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to this product. Use a sunscreen or protective clothing if you must be outside for a prolonged period.
  • This product has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective for any medical condition. The long-term safety of herbal products is not known. Before using any alternative medicine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • St. John's wort may decrease the effectiveness of your birth control pill. Use an additional form of contraception (eg, condoms) while using St. John's wort.
  • St. john's wort is not recommended for use in CHILDREN.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not take this product if you are pregnant. Do not breast-feed while taking this product.

Possible side effects of st. john's wort:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; dizziness; dry mouth; feeling of stomach fullness; increased sensitivity to sunlight; restlessness; tiredness; weight gain.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); agitation; changes in sexual function; confusion; diarrhea; fever; muscle spasms; nausea; profuse sweating; shivering; tremors or twitching; unusual mental or mood changes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of st. john's wort:

Store at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and light unless otherwise directed on the package label. Do not store in the bathroom. Most herbal products are not in childproof containers. Keep st. john's wort out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about st. john's wort, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • St. john's wort is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take st. john's wort or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about st. john's wort. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to st. john's wort. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using st. john's wort.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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