Gossypol

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What other names is Gossypol known by?

Coton Velu, Cotonnier Herbacé, Cottonseed Oil Extract, Extrait d'Huile de Coton, Gosipol, Gossypium herbaceum, Gossypium hirsutum, Karpasa.

What is Gossypol?

Gossypol is a substance that is found in the cotton plant. It is removed from the seeds and used for medicine.

Men take gossypol for birth control. Women take it for disorders of the uterus including endometriosis, abnormal bleeding, and cancer; as well as for ovarian cancer. Gossypol is also used for treating HIV/AIDS.

Sometimes women use gossypol cream or gel as birth control. It is applied to the inside of the vagina to kill sperm.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Male contraception (birth control), when taken by mouth. Taking gossypol by mouth seems to reduce sperm count and function in 60% to 100% of men. In 50% to 77% of men, sperm recover within 3-24 months after treatment is stopped. In about 10% of men, sperm counts remain very low for over 4.5 years. In some men, continual use of gossypol can cause permanent loss of the ability to father a child.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Cancer. Early research suggests that taking gossypol by mouth does not help shrink tumors in people with advanced cancer.
  • Problems of the uterus (womb) and ovaries.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Killing sperm, when applied inside the vagina.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gossypol for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

How does Gossypol work?

Gossypol interferes with sperm development and function.

Are there safety concerns?

Gossypol is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for use without close supervision by a healthcare professional. When men take gossypol by mouth, the effects on sperm are unpredictable and might cause permanent inability to father a child (sterility) with long-term use. When women take gossypol by mouth, it might be toxic to cells lining the uterus and could prevent normal function of the ovaries.

Gossypol can also cause loss of energy, changes in appetite, decreased sexual desire (libido), changes in body potassium levels, and digestive tract problems. High doses of gossypol (100 times the dose used for birth control) can cause malnutrition, blood circulation problems, heart failure, changes in hair color, and other problems.

There isn't enough information to know whether gossypol is safe to use directly on the skin. It can cause a burning sensation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to take gossypol if you are pregnant. It might cause a miscarriage. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take gossypol if you are breast-feeding.

Low potassium levels (hypokalemia): Gossypol may make low potassium levels worse. Avoid using it if you have this condition.

Urinary tract irritation: Gossypol may make urinary tract irritation worse. Avoid using it if you have this condition.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Large amounts of gossypol can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).



NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory medications used for decreasing pain and swelling. NSAIDs can cause irritation to the stomach and intestines. Gossypol can also cause irritation to the stomach and intestines. Taking NSAIDs along with gossypol might increase the chances of adverse effects. Avoid taking NSAIDs and gossypol together.

Some NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, others), indomethacin (Indocin), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), aspirin, and others.



Stimulant laxatives
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Stimulant laxatives speed up the bowels. Overuse of stimulant laxatives can cause low minerals in the body. Gossypol can also decrease minerals in the body. Do not take gossypol along with stimulant laxatives.



Theophylline
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Theophylline might decrease some of the effects of gossypol.



Warfarin (Coumadin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Gossypol can work as a laxative. In some people gossypol can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can increase the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding. If you take warfarin do not to take excessive amounts of gossypol.



Water pills (Diuretic drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Large amounts of gossypol can decrease potassium levels in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking gossypol along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.

Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Microzide), and others.

Dosing considerations for Gossypol.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • For male birth control: 15-20 mg is used daily for 12-16 weeks, followed by a maintenance dose of 7.5-10 mg per day. Treatment should be carefully monitored by a healthcare professional, because the effects of gossypol are unpredictable and might lead to permanent loss of the ability to father a child.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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