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Re: 5-HTP : beneficial?

Posted by SLS on November 25, 2003, at 7:27:28

In reply to 5-HTP : beneficial? , posted by Karalyn on November 24, 2003, at 22:13:44

> hey, is 5-HTP actually helpful? my chiropractor suggested it last year to me and i was taking it for less than a month until my doc told me to stop when I started Effexor. but now that I'm on Lexapro, I'm wondering if there is a more natural way of doing things. can you take 5-HTP with anti-D's? has anyone tried this? please tell me anything anyone knows.


Hi Karalyn.

In the 1980s, 5-HTP was used as an add-on (augmentor) of antidepressants. However, SSRIs like Lexapro weren't available at the time. It was reported that some people experienced an improvement with the addition of 5-HTP to tricyclics. Conversely, an even more prominent effect was noted when tryptophan, the precursor of 5-HTP and serotonin, was removed from the diet of people already on an antidepressant. Many relapsed. Once tryptophan was added back, these people improved again. I am undecided as to how well 5-HTP works. I have had no personal experience with it

Animal experiments demonstrate that 5-HTP can affect endocrine function and behavior. The combining of 5-HTP with SSRIs produces a greater change than when 5-HTP is administered alone. I think that adding 5-HTP to an SSRI like Lexapro might be worthwhile. However, you need to be aware of a possible negative reaction called serotonin syndrome. This is a serious condition that can be fatal. I really don't know the statistics as to how frequently this happens, but it probably represents a small minority. It should be noted that researchers use a combination of MAOIs and 5-HTP to produce the serotonin syndrome in rats.

I hope this is helpful.

- Scott

The symptoms of serotonin syndrome include the following:

Mental status changes
Confusion (51%)
Agitation (34%)
Hypomania (21%)
Anxiety (15%)
Coma (29%)

Sinus tachycardia (36%)
Hypertension (35%)
Hypotension (15%)

Nausea (23%)
Diarrhea (8%)
Abdominal pain (4%)
Salivation (2%)

Motor Abnormalities
Myoclonus (58%)
Hyperreflexia (52%)
Muscle rigidity (51%)
Restlessness (48%)
Tremor (43%)
Ataxia/incoordination (40%)
Shivering (26%)
Nystagmus (15%)
Seizures (12%)

Diaphoresis (45%)
Unreactive pupils (20%)
Tachypnea (26%)




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