Skip to Content

Primrose Oil

Generic Name: evening primrose (EVE ning PRIM rose)
Brand Name:

What is Primrose Oil (evening primrose)?

Evening primrose is a plant also known as Primrose Seed Oil, Aceite de Onagra, Acide Cis-linoléique, Cis-Linoleic Acid, EPO, Fever Plant, Herbe-aux-ânes, Huile de Graines d'Onagre, Huile D'Onagre, Huile de Primerose, Huile de Primevère Vespérale, Jambon de Jardinier, Jambon du Paysan, King's Cureall, Mâche Rouge, Night Willow-Herb, Oenothera biennis, Oenothera muricata, Oenothera purpurata, Oenothera rubricaulis, Oenothera suaveolens, Onagra biennis, Onagraire, Onagre Bisannuelle, Onagre Commune, Primevère du Soir, Scabish, Sun Drop, and other names.

Evening primrose has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating nerve damage caused by diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Evening primrose has also been used to treat asthma, eczema, attention deficit- hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hepatitis B, high cholesterol, liver cancer, breast pain, obesity, menopausal hot flashes and night sweats, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and skin or joint symptoms of psoriasis. However, research has shown that evening primrose may not be effective in treating these conditions.

Evening primrose may have been combined with other plants or extracts in a specific preparation to treat these conditions .

Other uses not proven with research have included chronic fatigue syndrome, dyslexia, coordination and movement problems, diaper rash, dry eyes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and other conditions.

It is not certain whether evening primrose is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Evening primrose should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Evening primrose is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Evening primrose may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Primrose Oil (evening primrose)?

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Slideshow: Seasoned Pro: Be Mindful of These Winter Health Hazards

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Primrose Oil (evening primrose)?

You should not use this product if you are allergic to evening primrose or if you have:

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; or

  • if you are pregnant.

Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:

  • epilepsy or a seizure disorder; or

  • schizophrenia.

Evening primrose is considered likely unsafe to use during pregnancy. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

Evening primrose is considered possibly safe to use while breast-feeding. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.

How should I take Primrose Oil (evening primrose)?

When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use evening primrose, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

Do not use different formulations (e.g., tablets, liquids, and others) of evening primrose 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 evening primrose.

Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with evening primrose does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.

Evening primrose can affect blood-clotting and may increase your risk of bleeding. If you need surgery, dental work, or a medical procedure, stop taking evening primrose at least 2 weeks ahead of time.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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 evening primrose 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 Primrose Oil (evening primrose)?

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

Avoid using evening primrose together with other herbal/health supplements that can also affect blood-clotting. This includes angelica (dong quai), capsicum, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, horse chestnut, panax ginseng, poplar, red clover, saw palmetto, turmeric, and willow.

Primrose Oil (evening primrose) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Although not all side effects are known, evening primrose is thought to be likely safe for most people when used for up to a year.

Stop using evening primrose and call your healthcare provider at once if you have:

  • easy bruising or bleeding; or

  • a bleeding that will not stop.

Common side effects may include:

  • upset stomach;

  • nausea;

  • diarrhea; or

  • headache.

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.

What other drugs will affect Primrose Oil (evening primrose)?

Do not take evening primrose without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:

  • a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven);

  • medicine to treat a mental illness; or

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)--aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with evening primrose, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.

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: 6.02. Revision Date: 2015-08-15, 4:28:15 AM.