red yeast rice

Pronunciation

Generic Name: red yeast rice (RED YEAST RICE)
Brand Name: Red Yeast Rice, Cholestin (obsolete)

What is red yeast rice?

Red yeast rice is a product of yeast that is grown on rice. It is marketed as Cholestin, Monascus, Zhi Tai, hong qu, red koji, red rice, Xue Zhi Kang, and others.

Red yeast rice has been used with diet, exercise, and medical care to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It may reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, and may also increase levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).

Not all uses for red yeast rice have been approved by the FDA. Red yeast rice should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Red yeast rice 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.

Red yeast rice may also be used for other purposes not listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about red yeast rice?

Not all uses for red yeast rice have been approved by the FDA. Red yeast rice should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Red yeast rice 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.

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Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can react adversely with over 85 prescription medications.

Some cholesterol-lowering medications can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.

Avoid drinking alcohol while using red yeast rice. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provide before taking red yeast rice?

Do not take red yeast rice if you are allergic to it, or if you have a history of liver disease.

Before taking red yeast rice, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or other healthcare provider. You may not be able to use this product if you have:

  • asthma;

  • kidney disease;

  • a serious infection, disease, or medical condition;

  • if you are pregnant;

  • if you have recently had surgery or an organ transplant; or

  • if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages per day.

Some cholesterol-lowering medications can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call a doctor at once if you have unexplained muscle pain or tenderness, muscle weakness, fever or flu symptoms, and dark colored urine.

Do not take red yeast rice without telling your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Red yeast rice may be harmful to an unborn baby.

It is not known whether red yeast rice passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take red yeast rice?

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 red yeast rice, 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.

Red yeast rice is available in a capsule formulation.

Other forms of red yeast rice may also be available, such as tablets, teas, tinctures, and topical forms. Do not use many different forms of red yeast rice together at the same time, unless you healthcare provider instructs you to. Using different forms together may increase your risk of an overdose of red yeast rice.

Red yeast rice should be taken with food to reduce stomach upset.

Store red yeast rice in a sealed container as directed on the product label, away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine 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.

Symptoms of a red yeast rice overdose may include stomach pain or upset.

What should I avoid while taking red yeast rice?

Avoid drinking alcohol while using red yeast rice. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with red yeast rice and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your healthcare provider. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Red yeast rice side effects

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

Stop using red yeast rice and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine; or

  • urinating less than usual or not at all.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • upset stomach;

  • heartburn;

  • gas, bloating;

  • mild headache; or

  • dizziness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or other healthcare provider about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect red yeast rice?

Do not take red yeast rice without the advice of a doctor if you are using any of the following medications:

  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf);

  • an antibiotic such as azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), or erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Erythrocin);

  • antifungal medication such as itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral);

  • other cholesterol-lowering medications, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), gemfibrozil (Lopid), fenofibrate (Tricor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), or simvastatin (Zocor);

  • niacin (Niacor, Nicobid, Niaspan, Nicolar, Nicotinex, Slo-Niacin, others);

  • itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral);

  • danazol (Danazol, Danocrine);

  • nefazodone (Serzone); or

  • HIV medication such as nevirapine (Viramune), delavirdine (Rescriptor), efavirenz (Sustiva), indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Invirase), or nelfinavir (Viracept).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with red yeast rice. Tell your healthcare provider about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

More about red yeast rice

Compare with other treatments for:

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: 5.02. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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