L-tryptophan (Tryptophan, Tryptan)

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GENERIC NAME: L-tryptophan

BRAND NAME: Tryptophan, Tryptan

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: L-tryptophan is an herbal supplement used for depression. Chemically it is a natural occurring amino acid obtained from plants and animals. L-tryptophan is an "essential" amino acid because humans cannot make it and must obtain L-tryptophan from food. It is converted in the body to serotonin. People with depression have an imbalance of serotonin and other brain chemicals. Increased serotonin levels in the brain improve symptoms of depression.

PRESCRIPTION: No

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: L-tryptophan is available in 500 mg and 1000 mg tablets and capsules.

STORAGE: L-tryptophan is stored in tightly closed containers. Due to multiple companies producing this medication, storage requirement may vary based on manufacturer.

PRESCRIBED FOR: L-tryptophan is used for depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, premenstrual syndrome and many other problems.

DOSING:

  • Adults: Take 8 to 12 grams of L-tryptophan by mouth per day. L-tryptophan should be taken in divided doses of three or four times a day.
  • Pediatric: Safe and effective use in pediatric patients is not determined.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: L-tryptophan should be used with caution with other anti-depressants like citalopram (Celexa), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), vilazodone, linezolid, and phenelzine because of increased risk of a serious condition called serotonin syndrome caused by excessive serotonin in the brain.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies done on L-tryptophan to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether L-tryptophan enters breast milk; however, it is best to avoid L-tryptophan during breastfeeding to avoid risk to the newborn.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of L-tryptophan are weight loss, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, nausea, and improper sexual behavior.

REFERENCE: FDA.gov.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/29/2014



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