5-HTP is primarily use to treat depression and is also effective as a weight-loss aid. 5-HTP is sometime used to treat mild pain, insomnia, Fibromyalgia, and chronic tension headache. 5-HTP has been used to treat, insomnia, anxiety, suicide, migraines, PMS, obsessive/compulsive behavior, stress, obesity, and addiction. All of these conditions are manifestations of low levels of serotonin. Many of the new prescription drugs that have become available since the absence of L-Tryptophan are designed to regulate brain serotonin levels (called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs ). Drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor work by selective enhancement of serotonin levels, and Dexfenfluramine ( Redux ) suppresses appetite by mimicking serotonin activity in the brain.

Now a natural and safe alternative to these drugs is available in the form of 5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan ( 5-HTP ). 5-HTP, considered by researchers to be the safest tryptophan alternative available, is ten times more active than L-tryptophan and is the immediate precursor to serotonin ( 5-Hydroxy tryptamine or 5-HT ).

CLASS: Increase levels of serotonin.
Other name: L-Tryptophan ( 5-HTP ).
Type: Antidepressant.

Strengths: 50 mg and 100 mg.

Dosages: Actual dosage must be determined by a physician.

Start: 50 mg
Increases:  Determined by a physician and as needed .
Maximum: Determined by a physician.

Normal dosage:  Take 1-2 capsules, 1-4 times daily. As a dietary supplement: Take 1-2 capsules, 1-3 times daily between meals, or as advised by your Health care Professional ( in healthy young adult ).

Problems with:
Liver Function:  N/A
Kidney Function:  N/A

Before taking:  N/A
While taking:   N/A

Take With:  A full glass of water.

Full Benefits In:  In several weeks.

Missed Dose(s):  If within one hour take, if over an hour skip and then continue on your normal schedule.
Never Take a Double Dose.

If Stop Taking: Consulting your physician.

Overdose symptoms include: Agitation, confusion, flushing, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and tremors.
Overdose if Untreated : Coma, seizures, and death.


Avoid alcohol while taking this drug.

Do not take this drug if you are or have taken an MAO inhibitor in the last 2 weeks.

Do not take this drug if you have carcinoid tumors.

Do not take this drug if you are pregnant.

Do not take this drug if planning to become pregnant. Do not take if you are breast-feeding.

Do not give this drug to anyone under six months old. Only use drug in small doses at first if over sixty and with close monitoring.

Dosages of 5-hydroxy L-tryptophan (5-HTP) greater than 100 milligrams per day should be taken only under the guidance of a physician. 5-HTP use at doses greater than 100 mg per day should be taken with the prescription drug carbadopa to prevent excessive levels of serotonin production in the peripheral blood circulation. 5-HTP can increase the effect of tranquilizing drugs and can impair the ability to drive an automobile.

Do not use if: You have carcinoid tumors, chest pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, or a history of heart attack/s; You had negative reactions to this drug in the past, Antidepressant drugs, Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors ( SSRI's e.g., Prozac), Tricyclic medications, Weight Loss medications ( i.e., dextenfluramine ), Anti-Parkinson medications (e.g., L-dopa ), Barbiturates and other tranquilizing drugs; Antihistamines and cold medications, Alcoholic beverages, Intravenous ( illegal I.V. ) drugs; Cancer chemotherapy or antibiotic medications.

Inform your Doctor if: 

  • you had negative reactions to this drug in the past.
  • if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription drug.
  • if you plan to be under anesthesia or having any surgery in the next few months, also if you will be undergoing any medical tests. 
  • if you are on a special diet ( low-salt / low-sugar or any other )
  • cardiovascular Diseases ( high blood pressure, post-stroke, post-heart attack );.
  • extremely Elderly Person.
    • those with Parkinson's Disease, Cancer or Autoimmune Diseases ( Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus )
  • lung diseases.
  • chronic Alcoholism.
  • liver diseases ( hepatitis or cirrhosis )
  • parasitic infection.
  • AIDS.
  • anorexia Nervosa.
  • low protein Diets.
  • allergies ( severe ).
  • myalgia ( persistent pain and weakness of the muscles ).
  • peripheral neuropathy ( pain weakness of the muscles ).
  • rash or flushing.
  • Edema.
  • nausea.
  • diarrhea.
  • sickle cell anemia.
  • hemophilia.
  • pregnancy.

5-HTP ( Symptoms or Effects )

Common: Diarrhea, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Rare: Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and Neurological problems:

  • Abnormally sensitive reflexes.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Loss of muscle coordination.

See physician always: Neurological problems and muscle pain.

See physician if severe:  Diarrhea, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

See physician NOW: Neurological problems and muscle pain.

Stop taking and see physician NOW: Neurological problems and EMS.

Disclaimer: Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication.

5-HTP ( Drug Interactions )

  • Blood pressure drugs.
  • MAO inhibitors.
  • Migraine drugs.
  • SSRI's
  • Tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Aldomet, Amerge, Carbidopa, Dibenzyline, Elavil, Imitrex, Paxil, Periactin, Prozac, Serzone, Tofranil, Zoloft, and Zomig.


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