Tryptophan Capsules

What is this medication?

TRYPTOPHAN (TRIP tuh fan) may support sleep and mental health. It may also relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This supplement is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): 5-HTP, 5-HTP Maximum Strength

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Depression or other mental illness
  • Other chronic health condition
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to tryptophan, other herbs, plants, medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this supplement by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not cut, crush or chew this medicine. Swallow the capsules whole. Take it on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before and 2 hours after food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your care team's advice.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

Do not take this supplement with any of the following:

  • MAOIs like Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate

This supplement may also interact with the following:

  • Certain medications for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disorders
  • Certain medications for sleep
  • Linezolid
  • Methylene blue (injected into a vein)
  • Narcotic medications for pain
  • Rasagiline
  • Safinamide
  • Selegiline
  • St. John's Wort
  • Stimulant medications for attention disorders, weight loss, or staying awake

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Herbal or dietary supplements are not regulated like medications. Rigid quality control standards are not required for dietary supplements. The purity and strength of these products can vary. The safety and efficacy of this dietary supplement for a certain disease or illness is not well known. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Food and Drug Administration suggests the following to help consumers protect themselves:

  • Always read product labels and follow directions
  • Natural does not mean a product is safe for humans to take
  • Look for products that include USP after the ingredient name. This means that the manufacturer followed the standards of the US Pharmacopoeia
  • Supplements made or sold by a nationally known food or drug company are more likely to be made under tight controls. You can write to the company for more information about how the product was made

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused supplement after the expiration date.

To get rid of supplements that are no longer needed or have expired:

  • Take the supplement to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
  • If you cannot return the supplement, check the label or package insert to see if the supplement should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, take the supplement out of the container. Mix the supplement with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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