- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: lycopene
Other Names: all-trans lycopene, psi-carotene, psi-psi-carotene, solanrubin
Drug Class: Herbals
What is lycopene, and what is it used for?
Lycopene is a natural pigment known as carotenoid that is abundant in tomatoes and responsible for their red color. Lycopene is a potent natural antioxidant and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that dietary intake of tomatoes and tomato products are associated with reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Lycopene supplements are believed to be beneficial in many chronic diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is tissue damage caused by excessive oxygen reactive species (ROS), also known as free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen-containing molecules that result from natural biological processes in the body and are normally neutralized by the body’s natural antioxidants. Oxidative stress is associated with the development of many chronic diseases and cancers.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges the free radicals. Research suggests that lycopene supplements may prevent the growth of cancer cells, especially in prostate cancer. Some studies suggest that lycopene may also help in preventing the thickening of arteries (atherosclerosis) that can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke. The study results, however, are mixed in lycopene’s efficacy in preventing these conditions or any of the other conditions for which lycopene is used.
Lycopene is available over-the-counter as an herbal supplement, either as natural extracts or synthetic products. Lycopene is not naturally produced by the body and must be obtained from food, and the absorbed lycopene is primarily stored in the liver, adrenals and prostate, and to a lesser extent in other organs such as skin and brain. Rich natural sources of lycopene include tomato, watermelon, pink grapefruit, red orange, apricot, rose hip, guava and papaya.
The FDA recognizes lycopene supplements as generally safe, and they are available over the counter (OTC). In 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund reported that a diet high in fruits and vegetables might help reduce the risk of cancer, including lycopene for prostate cancer. Suggested uses of lycopene as a supplement include:
- Prostate cancer
- Ovarian, pancreatic and lung cancers
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Skin conditions
- Oral leukoplakia, a condition with white patches in the oral tissue, potentially malignant and usually associated with tobacco use
- Maintenance of general health, including that of liver, nerves and bones
- Reproductive disorders
- Protection against toxins
- Lycopene may slow down blood clotting. Exercise caution with lycopene supplements if you are taking blood thinners. Stop lycopene supplements at least 2 weeks before any scheduled surgery.
What are the side effects of lycopene?
The side effects of lycopene include:
- Skin rashes (rare)
- One report of lycopenemia, a benign orange discoloration of skin with consumption of extremely high amounts of lycopene
Seek medical care or call 911 at once if you have the following serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms such as fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats; fluttering in your chest; shortness of breath; and sudden dizziness, lightheartedness, or passing out;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, very stiff muscles, high fever, profuse sweating, or tremors;
- Serious eye symptoms such as sudden vision loss, blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of lycopene?
General Dosing Guidelines
- 13-75 mg/day orally
- 10-30 mg twice daily orally
- 15 mg twice daily orally
- 4-8 mg/day orally
- Specific lycopene supplement (LycoRed)
Preventing Exercise-Induced Asthma
- 30 mg/day orally
- Lycopene is considered nontoxic and is unlikely to cause any serious adverse effects.
- There is one case report of a 61-year-old woman consuming 2 liters of tomato juice daily for several years and developing orange discoloration of her skin (lycopenemia), which faded with 3 weeks of tomato-free diet.
- In case of lycopene overdose, call Poison Control.
What drugs interact with lycopene?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Lycopene has no known severe, serious, moderate or mild interactions with other drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information.
Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Small amounts of lycopene in food is likely safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- There isn’t enough reliable information on the safety of lycopene supplement use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, avoid use.
What else should I know about lycopene?
- Lycopene is generally safe in food and as a supplement in most people.
- Take lycopene supplements exactly as per label instructions.
- Lycopene supplements are marketed as herbal supplements and are not stringently regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths; exercise caution in choosing your product.
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Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges the free radicals. Used as a supplement, lycopene may prevent the growth of cancer cells. Lycopene may slow down blood clotting. Exercise caution with lycopene supplements if you are taking blood thinners. The side effects of lycopene include skin rashes (rare). Lycopene is considered nontoxic and is unlikely to cause any serious adverse effects. Small amounts of lycopene in food is likely safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
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Can Prostate Cancer Be Detected by a Blood Test?
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Ovarian cancer is a disease where abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a mass of undifferentiated tumor cells. These cells tend to invade nearby and distant sites in the body, deteriorating their function. The ovaries are pair of internal reproductive glands found only in females.
What Is the Number 1 Cause of Cancer?
Cancer refers to a collection of large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and can infiltrate and destroy the normal body tissue.
How Do You Check for Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer cannot be self-diagnosed at home. Diagnosis of ovarian cancer requires several tests including blood tests, an ultrasound scan, and usually, the expertise of a specialist.
What Does Lung Cancer Feel Like When It Starts?
Lung cancer refers to the uncontrolled growth of cells that starts in the lungs. Lung cancer occurs when any of the several cells in the lungs undergo an abnormal change in its genetic code. This change is called a mutation.
Prostate Cancer: Radical Prostatectomy Surgery
Radical prostatectomy, or surgical removal of the entire prostate gland, isn’t typically the first choice in prostate cancer treatment. Sometimes a radical approach is necessary to keep the cancer from metastasizing, however. Some cases are too severe or diagnosed too late for drugs or radiation to have much effect. In these cases, treatment teams may opt for a radical prostatectomy, despite potential side effects like impotence and incontinence.
Types of Ovarian Cancer Medications
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, your doctor may prescribe a treatment plan that includes different types of ovarian cancer medications.
Prostate Cancer: Radiation, Brachytherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals
Radiation treatment for prostate cancer is a powerful tool at doctors’ disposal. Using radiation vs. surgery or other invasive treatments to kill cancer cells may still cause side effects, but ideally they are less severe. Radiation therapy can be performed via external beam therapy (EBRT) or the placement of radioactive seeds into the prostate (prostate brachytherapy) or using radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals).
Six Early Signs of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. It may not show its signs and symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms typically appear in the advanced stage of the disease.
What Are the 4 Stages of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is cancer that develops in the prostate glands of men. It is one of the most common types of cancer. It is usually seen in men older than 50 years of age. The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces seminal fluid. This fluid nourishes and transports sperm.
What Is the Latest Treatment for Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer affects 1 in 5 men. Learn how it is diagnosed and treated by doctors.
What Are the Main Causes of Ovarian Cancer?
Each cell in the body survives, grows, and dies under regulated conditions. The term cancer means an uncontrolled growth of cells.
What Are the Main Causes of Prostate Cancer?
The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known. Studies have revealed that prostate cancer occurs when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or genetic material of a normal prostate cell undergoes a sudden and abnormal change called a mutation.
What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?
All men are at risk of prostate cancer; however, some men are at more risk than others. Apart from being male, current risk factors for prostate cancer include the following.
What Are the 5 Common Types of Cancer?
The five most common types of cancer include breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer.
How Can We Prevent Cancer?
Cancer is a medical condition in which cells grow out of control and crowd out the normal cells. This makes it difficult for the body to work the way it should. Cancer can start at any place in the body. There are many types of cancer. It’s not just one disease. Cancer can start in the lungs, breast, colon, or blood.
What Is the Survival Rate of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer?
There are two main types of lung cancers, namely, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC accounts for 85% of all lung cancer cases in the United States. It must be noted that medical science is progressing with leaps and bounds, and treatment for lung cancer must be initiated and maintained despite the stage of diagnosis.
Can Lung Cancer Go Away?
Lung cancer can go away if treated in the early stages, especially when the cancer is localized and has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other sites in the body.
What Are the Top Ten Cancers?
Lung cancer is the number one killer cancer in the world. It is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women.
What Are the Four Main Causes of Skin Cancer?
Most skin cancers occur due to repeated and prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight. Also, artificial sources, such as tanning beds, can cause skin cancer. UV rays can damage the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) inside the skin cells. DNA is the source of instructions for everything that cells do.
Can a Blood Test Detect Ovarian Cancer?
A doctor may advise a blood test to patients having ovarian cancer. A cancer antigen-125 (CA-125) blood test is usually recommended to measure the levels of a protein called CA-125, which could be elevated in women who have ovarian cancer. This test is also used during the treatment of ovarian cancer because the level of this protein goes down as the tumor shrinks. This protein is elevated in more than 80 percent of women with advanced ovarian cancers and 50 percent of those with early-stage cancers.
What Are the Symptoms of a Cancerous Ovarian Cyst?
Cancerous ovarian cyst or early-stage ovarian cancer (stages I to II) rarely causes any symptoms. Advanced-stage ovarian cancer (stages III to IV) may cause a few nonspecific symptoms.
What Tests Are Done to Check Cancer?
Tests used to detect cancer vary depending on the type of cancer, and can help to diagnose the disease, monitor how well cancer treatment is working or check if the cancer has come back.
How Is Bone Cancer Caused?
Cancers are caused by a sudden mutation (changes) in the cell's genetic material (deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA). The exact cause of such a mutation is unknown. Scientists have made progress in understanding the role of DNA in causing normal cells to become cancerous. DNA is the source of instructions for everything that our cells do.
Can Moles Be a Sign of Other Cancers?
Some moles may undergo alterations in their shape, size, and texture due to changes in the DNA of cells. This leads to melanoma, a fast-growing, life-threatening skin cancer.
How Does a Doctor Diagnose Prostate Cancer?
The prostate gland or prostate is a part of the male reproductive system. It is a small (almost walnut-sized) gland located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum (the last part of the large bowel), surrounding the urethra (the tube carrying urine out of the bladder). The prostate has two main functions: producing and storing fluid that helps make semen and regulating bladder control.
What Happens If You Are Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer?
A diagnosis with prostate cancer does not mean that a person’s life has come to a full stop. Many people with prostate cancer, if diagnosed early, go on to live for many years. If the disease is diagnosed in very early stages, the doctor may only keep the patient under surveillance and treat as required. However, the patient must make some changes in their life during and after the treatment.
Who Is at High Risk for Ovarian Cancer?
The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age. Almost half of the ovarian cancer cases are seen in women older than 63 years of age. Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of gynecological cancer-related deaths among women between the ages of 35 and 74 years.
Is There a Screening Test for Lung Cancer?
A screening test is generally performed as a preventative measure to detect a potential health problem or disease in a person who is yet to have signs or symptoms. There is a screening test for lung cancer, however it is only deemed necessary for people at risk for lung cancer.
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer?
Ovaries are small glands on each side of the uterus responsible for producing eggs as well as the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. In ovarian cancer, a mutation in the genetic material of ovarian cells leads to uncontrolled, abnormal cell growth.
How Can Cancer Be Diagnosed?
Along with your medical history and a physical exam, multiple diagnostic tests can be used to help your doctor confirm or eliminate the presence of cancer.
How Is Prostate Cancer Screening Done?
There are no standard or routine screening tests for prostate cancer. Studies are being done to find ways to make prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing more accurate for early cancer detection.
What Are the 15 Common Signs of Cancer?
The term cancer is given to a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Some of the common signs of cancer include unintended weight loss, fatigue, bleeding, presence of a mass, persistent cough, abdominal pain and other signs.
What Does the HPV Vaccine Prevent?
There are several vaccines that prevent infection with HPV. They also protect against other cancers that HPV causes including cancer of the vagina, vulva, penis, throat, and anus.
The Early Signs of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer in its early stages usually causes no signs and symptoms. Screening can help detect the cancer early.
Is There a Blood Test for Ovarian Cancer?
The CA-125 blood test is one of clinical assessments used to diagnose ovarian cancer. However, CA-125 or other tumor markers alone are insufficient to diagnose ovarian cancer.
What Is the Most Used Treatment of Prostate Cancer?
Radiation therapy is the most used treatment of prostate cancer irrespective of the stage, current prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, prognosis, or risk rating.
When Does Ovarian Cancer Occur?
Although it is unclear what causes ovarian cancer, the risk increases with age, and many women are diagnosed after menopause around the ages of 55-64.
What Are Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a malignant cancer of the ovaries. Risk factors for ovarian cancer include age, family history, genetics, ethnicity, weight, and others.
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