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gamma-Linolenic Acid (generic name)

treats Pruritus, Immune enhancement, Ulcerative colitis, Diabetic neuropathy, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Osteoporosis, Menopausa...
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Interactions with Drugs

GLA may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that 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®).

Theoretically, GLA may increase the effectiveness of ceftazidime, an antibiotic in a class known as cephalosporins, against a variety of bacterial infections. It is unknown whether effectiveness of other cephalosporin antibiotics are likewise affected.

GLA may alter the effects of certain anti-cancer treatments. Caution is advised.

Theoretically, taking omega-6 fatty acids, such as GLA, during therapy with cyclosporine, a medication used to suppress the immune system after an organ transplant, for example, may increase the immunosuppressive effects of cyclosporine and may protect against kidney damage associated with cyclosporine.

Individuals taking phenothiazines (such as chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, perphenazine, promazine, and thioridazine) to treat schizophrenia should not take evening primrose oil, a source of GLA, because it may interact with these medications and increase the risk of seizures. Theoretically, the same may be true for other GLA containing supplements.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

GLA may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase 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.

Although not well studied in humans, coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E reversed the inhibition of cell growth associated with GLA. Thus, nutritional antioxidants may inhibit certain effects associated with GLA.


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 ( Julie Conquer, PhD (RGB Consulting); Catherine DeFranco Kirkwood, MPH, CCCJS-MAC (MD Anderson Cancer Center); Dana A. Hackman, BS (Northeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shannon Welch, PharmD (Northeastern University); Jen Woods, BS (Northeastern University); Edward Yost (Northeastern University).


DISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to Selected references are listed below.

Bakshi A, Mukherjee D, Bakshi A, et al. Gamma-linolenic acid therapy of human gliomas. Nutrition 2003;19(4):305-309.

Callaway J, Schwab U, Harvima I, et al. Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis. J Dermatolog Treat 2005;16(2):87-94.

Goyal A, Mansel RE. A randomized multicenter study of gamolenic acid (Efamast) with and without antioxidant vitamins and minerals in the management of mastalgia. Breast J 2005;11(1):41-47.

Jamal GA, Carmichael H, Weir AI. Gamma-linolenic acid in diabetic neuropathy. Lancet 5-10-1986;1(8489):1098.

Middleton SJ, Naylor S, Woolner J, et al. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of essential fatty acid supplementation in the maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002;16(6):1131-1135.

Miles EA, Banerjee T, Dooper MM, et al. The influence of different combinations of gamma-linolenic acid, stearidonic acid and EPA on immune function in healthy young male subjects. Br J Nutr 2004;91(6):893-903.

Nelson JL, DeMichele SJ, Pacht ER, et al. Effect of enteral feeding with eicosapentaenoic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and antioxidants on antioxidant status in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2003;27(2):98-104.

Pacht ER, DeMichele SJ, Nelson JL, et al. Enteral nutrition with eicosapentaenoic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and antioxidants reduces alveolar inflammatory mediators and protein influx in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Crit Care Med. 2003;31(2):491-500.

Remans PH, Sont JK, Wagenaar LW, et al. Nutrient supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids and micronutrients in rheumatoid arthritis: clinical and biochemical effects. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58(6):839-845.

Stevens L, Zhang W, Peck L, et al. EFA supplementation in children with inattention, hyperactivity, and other disruptive behaviors. Lipids 2003;38(10):1007-1021.

Takwale A, Tan E, Agarwal S, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of borage oil in adults and children with atopic eczema: randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel group trial. BMJ 12-13-2003;327(7428):1385.

Usami M, Komurasaki T, Hanada A, et al. Effect of gamma-linolenic acid or docosahexaenoic acid on tight junction permeability in intestinal monolayer cells and their mechanism by protein kinase C activation and/or eicosanoid formation. Nutrition 2003;19(2):150-156.

van Gool CJ, Thijs C, Henquet CJ, et al. Gamma-linolenic acid supplementation for prophylaxis of atopic dermatitis--a randomized controlled trial in infants at high familial risk. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77(4):943-951.

van Gool CJ, Zeegers MP, Thijs C. Oral essential fatty acid supplementation in atopic dermatitis-a meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials. Br J Dermatol 2004;150(4):728-740.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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