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Cat's claw

Generic Name: cat's claw (CATS CLAW)
Brand Name:

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Oct 9, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is cat's claw?

Cat's claw is a plant that is also known as Griffe Du Chat, Liane du Pérou, Life-Giving Vine of Peru, Samento, Uña De Gato.

Cat's claw has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating arthritis. People with either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis have used cat's claw. Different forms of cat's claw may be specific to treating each type of arthritis. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about which form to use.

Other uses not proven with research have included stomach and intestinal disorders, hemorrhoids, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, shingles, chickenpox, hay fever, and many other conditions.

It is not certain whether cat's claw is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of cat's claw has not been approved by the FDA. Cat's claw should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Cat's claw 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.

Cat's claw may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

Important Information

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:

Do not use cat's claw if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether cat's claw passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this product.

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

How should I take cat's claw?

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 cat's claw, 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 cat's claw at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.

If you need surgery, stop taking cat's claw at least 2 weeks ahead of time.

Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with cat's claw does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.

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 cat's claw 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 cat's claw?

Avoid taking other herbal/health supplements such as casein protein, coenzyme Q-10 (ubiquinone), fish oil, L-arginine, lycium, or stinging nettle. Combining cat's claw with any of these substances may cause your blood pressure to get too low.

Cat's claw 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, cat's claw is thought to be possibly safe when taken for a short period of time.

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.

What other drugs will affect cat's claw?

Do not take cat's claw without medical advice if you are using a medication to treat any of the following conditions:

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with cat's claw, especially:

  • birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy; or

  • drugs that weaken the immune system such as cancer medicine, steroids, and medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection.

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

Further 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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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