Betel Nut (generic name)
treats Schizophrenia, Dental cavities, Stimulant, Ulcerative colitis, Anemia, Stroke recovery, and Saliva stimulant
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Interactions with Drugs
The effects of anticholinergic drugs may decrease when used in combination with betel nut or its constituent arecoline. Use with cholinergic drugs may cause toxicity (salivation, increased tearing, incontinence, sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, or fever). Betel nut may slow or raise the heart rate and could alter the effects of drugs that slow the heart, such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or digoxin.
Betel nut may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also alter blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or using insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare provider. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Betel nut may increase the effects of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, phenothiazines, cholesterol-lowering drugs, stimulant drugs, and thyroid drugs. Betel may increase or decrease the effects of anti-glaucoma eye drops. Reliable human study is lacking in these areas.
Other medications that betel nut may interact with include: antibiotics, medications that alter blood pressure, anti-inflammatory medications, or medications taken for cancer or immunosuppression. Patients taking anti-psychotic drugs should use cautiously due to reports of increased side effects. Based on the way betel nut is processed in the body, there may be interactions when taken with muscarinic antagonists. Furthermore, chronic use of betel nut and alcohol may lead to an increased risk of oral cancer.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Taking betel with other cholinergic herbs may cause toxicity (salivation, tearing, urinary incontinence, sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, facial flushing, and fever) due to the chemical arecoline. Examples of cholinergic herbs include: American hellebore, jaborandi, lobelia, pulsatilla, and snakeroot. Betel may reduce the effects of herbs with possible anticholinergic properties, such as belladonna, henbane, hyoscyamine, and Swertia japonica Makino.
Betel may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also alter blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Betel may inhibit monoamine oxidase and therefore may increase the effects of herbs and supplements that may also inhibit monoamine oxidase. Betel nut may also interact with cardioactive agents, such as hawthorn or oleander, or agents that effect thyroid levels, such as bladderwrack.
Betel has been reported to deplete an essential vitamin (thiamine) and theoretically may cause neurologic damage including Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (confusion, poor muscle coordination, eye movement problems, and amnesia). Based on human study, chewing betel nut may aggravate the effects of vitamin D deficiency. Theoretically, simultaneous long-term use of betel and alcohol may lead to an increased risk of mouth cancer.
Other herbs or supplements that betel nut may interact with include antibacterials, agents that alter blood pressure, anti-inflammatory agents, or agents taken for cancer or immunosuppression. Patients taking herbs with antipsychotic effects should use cautiously due to reports of increased side effects. Based on the way betel nut is processed in the body, there may be interactions when taken with herbs with muscarinic antagonists effects as well.