Mucuna pruriens (generic name)

treats Parkinson's disease
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Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

The leaves of Mucuna pruriens may dose-dependently prolong blood clotting. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that also increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).

Use cautiously in patients taking diabetes medications as cowhage may alter 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 be a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

Cowhage seeds contain levodopa, which may cause high blood pressure when taken with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Caution is advised in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) or taking medication that alters blood pressure due to possible additive effects.

In a case report, cowhage caused an outbreak of acute toxic psychosis. Caution is advised in patients with mental illnesses.

Based on a clinical study in Parkinson's disease patients, cowhage may increase serum levodopa concentrations. Caution is advised in Parkinson's disease patients taking levodopa, dopamine, dopamine agonists, dopamine antagonists, anticholinergics and antiparkinsonian agents due to possible additive effects.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

The leaves of Mucuna pruriens may dose-dependently prolong blood clotting. Use cautiously in patients with bleeding disorders or taking other blood thinning herbs or supplements due to a possible increase in the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.

In a case report, cowhage caused an outbreak of acute toxic psychosis. Use cautiously in patients with mental illnesses.

Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) is a known MAO inhibitor; cowhage seeds contain levodopa, which may cause high blood pressure when taken with MAO inhibitors. Use cautiously in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) or taking other herbs or supplements, such as ayahuasca, that alter blood pressure.

Ergot (Claviceps purpura) has known dopamine agonist activity; cowhage seeds contain levodopa, which is a precursor to dopamine. Use cautiously in patients with mental illnesses, such as depression, as the combination of cowhage and ergot may result in additive effects.

Jimson weed (Datura stramonium) is a known anticholinergic; cowhage seeds contain levodopa, which may interact with anticholinergics. Use cautiously in patients with Parkinson's disease as the combination of cowhage and Jimson weed may result in additive effects.

Fava beans (Vicia faba) contain levodopa, as do cowhage seeds. Use cautiously with fava beans due to possible additive effects.

Cowhage may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking herbs or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

Attribution

This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Emily Kyomitmaitee, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).

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