Generic Name: 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-hye DROX ee TRIP toe fan)
Brand Name: 5-HTP
Medically reviewed on November 24, 2017
What is 5-hydroxytryptophan?
5-hydroxytryptophan, also known as 5-HTP, is a dietary supplement made from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia.
Other uses not proven with research have included insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, headaches, premenstrual syndrome, binge-eating related to obesity, attention deficit disorder, and muscle spasms in the mouth.
It is not certain whether 5-hydroxytryptophan is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. 5-hydroxytryptophan should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
5-hydroxytryptophan 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.
5-hydroxytryptophan may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
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.
Before taking this medicine
Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:
Down syndrome; or
a nerve-muscle disorder; or
problems with your muscles.
Taking 5-hydroxytryptophan while you are pregnant is possibly unsafe. Do not use this product if you are pregnant.
Taking 5-hydroxytryptophan while you are breast-feeding is possibly unsafe. Do not use this product 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 5-hydroxytryptophan?
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 5-hydroxytryptophan, 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 forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of 5-hydroxytryptophan at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.
Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with 5-hydroxytryptophan does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.
If you need surgery, stop taking 5-hydroxytryptophan 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 5-hydroxytryptophan 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 5-hydroxytryptophan?
Avoid using 5-hydroxytryptophan with other herbal/health supplements that can cause drowsiness. This includes California poppy, catnip, chamomile, gotu kola, Jamaican dogwood, kava, melatonin, St. John's wort, skullcap (or scullcap), valerian, yerba mansa, and others.
5-hydroxytryptophan side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Although not all side effects are known, 5-hydroxytryptophan is thought to be possibly safe when taken for a short period of time.
Stop using 5-hydroxytryptophan and call your doctor at once if you have:
Common side effects may include:
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 5-hydroxytryptophan?
Taking this product with any medicine that makes you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking 5-hydroxytryptophan with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Do not take 5-hydroxytryptophan without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:
narcotic medicine; or
cough medicine that contains dextromethorphan (DM).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with 5-hydroxytryptophan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.
- 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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