flax

Generic Name: flax (FLACKS)
Brand Name: Flax Seed Oil, Flax Oil

What is flax?

The use of flax in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Flax is also known as Linum usitatissimum, flaxseed, linseed, lint bells, linum, and winterlien.

Flax has been used most commonly as a laxative. Flax has also been used to reduce cholesterol levels, to slow prostate cancer growth before surgery, and topically for skin irritation.

Flax has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of flax may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Flax may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about flax?

Do not take flax internally without first talking to your doctor if you have a narrowing of the esophagus or another stomach area, an intestinal obstruction, or other stomach or intestinal problems. Since flax swells in the stomach, it may be dangerous if used by people with certain intestinal problems.

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Do not take flax internally without first talking to your doctor if you have prostate problems or difficulty with urination.

Flax has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of flax may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking flax?

Do not take flax internally without first talking to your doctor if you have a narrowing of the esophagus or another stomach area, an intestinal obstruction, or other stomach or intestinal problems. Since flax swells in the stomach, it may be dangerous if used by people with certain intestinal problems.

Do not take flax internally without first talking to your doctor if you have prostate problems or difficulty with urination.

Before taking flax, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you have allergies (especially to plants), have any medical condition, or if you take other medicines or other herbal/health supplements. Flax may not be recommended in some situations.

Do not take flax without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. It is not known whether flax will harm an unborn baby.

Do not take flax without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. It is also not known whether flax will harm a nursing infant.

There is no information available regarding the use of flax by children. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without first talking to the child's doctor.

How should I take flax?

The use of flax in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

If you choose to take flax, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations of herbal/health supplements may provide a more reliable dose of the product.

Take the pill forms of flax with a full glass of water.

To ensure the correct dose, measure the liquid forms of flax with a dropper or a dose-measuring spoon or cup.

If you are taking flax internally, be sure to drink plenty of fluid. Too little fluid can lead to a blockage of flax in the intestines.

Topical forms of flax are intended for external use only.

Do not use different formulations (e.g., tablets, liquids, and others) of flax at the same time, unless specifically directed to do so by a health care professional. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose of flax.

Store flax as directed on the package. In general, flax should be protected from light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra flax to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking flax?

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Flax side effects

Although rare, allergic reactions to flax may occur. Stop taking flax and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect flax?

Do not take any other medication at the same time as flax without first talking to your doctor or health care provider. Flax may decrease the absorption of other drugs when taken together.

Interactions between flax and other prescription or over-the-counter medicines or herbal/health supplements may also occur. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional before taking flax if you are taking any other medicines or supplements.

Where can I get more information?

  • Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 2011-01-10, 3:12:17 PM.

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