Bitter Melon (generic name)

treats Diabetes mellitus, Human immunodeficiency virus, and Cancer
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Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

Bitter melon may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.

Elevations in liver enzymes have been reported. Theoretically, bitter melon may interact with drugs metabolized by or affecting the liver.

The antiviral protein of bitter melon may enhance the therapies of the HIV antagonists, dexamethasone and indomethacin. Bitter melon may have antiviral and immunomodulating effects and therefore may have additive effects with other drugs with similar activity.

Bitter melon leaf extracts have been observed to reverse chemotherapy drug resistance.

Bitter melon may lower triglyceride levels and therefore may have additive effects with other drugs with similar activity.

Absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination (pharmacokinetics) of other drugs may be altered by bitter melon.

Bitter melon may induce abortion, reduce fertility rates, or inhibit production of sperm. Caution is advised in patients taking fertility agents or antifertility agents.

In theory, bitter melon may interact with medications used to treat parasites (anthelmintics).

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Bitter melon may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

Elevations in liver enzymes have been reported. Theoretically, bitter melon may interact with drugs metabolized by or affecting the liver.

Bitter melon leaf extracts have been observed to reverse chemotherapy drug resistance.

Bitter melon may lower triglyceride levels and therefore may have additive effects with other drugs with similar activity.

Absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination (pharmacokinetics) of other drugs may be altered by bitter melon.

Bitter melon may induce abortion, reduce fertility rates, or inhibit production of sperm. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements with proposed fertility or antifertility effects.

In theory, bitter melon may also interact with herbs or supplements that suppress or enhance the immune system. Furthermore, bitter melon may interact with medications used to treat parasites (anthelmintics), although human evidence is lacking in this area.

Attribution

This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Ethan Basch, MD (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer center); Samuel Basch, MD (Mt. Sinai Medical Center); Lisa Cheung, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Cathi Dennehy, PharmD (University of California, San Francisco); Steven Gabardi, PharmD (Brigham and Women's Hospital/Northeastern University); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Peter Glickman, MD (Harvard Medical School); Michael Goble, BS, PharmD (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); Sadaf Hashmi, MD, MPH (Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health); David Kroll, PhD (Duke University); Erica Rusie, PharmD (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Michael Smith, MRPharmS, ND (Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine); David Sollars, MAc, HMC (New England School of Acupuncture); Philippe Szapary, MD (University of Pennsylvania); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Jen Woods, BS (Northeastern University).

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