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All about: evening primrose

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Generic Name: evening primrose (EVE ning PRIM rose)
Brand Names:

What is evening primrose?

The use of evening primrose in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Evening primrose is also known as Oenothera biennis, oil of evening primrose (OEP, EPO), scabish, king's cureall, night willow herb, sun drop, and fever plant.

Evening primrose has been used in the treatment of heart and circulatory disease, breast disorders, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren's syndrome, post-viral fatigue syndrome, asthma, diabetic neuropathy, eczema and other skin disorders, zinc deficiency, high cholesterol, and cancer.

Evening primrose has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of evening primrose may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Evening primrose may have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about evening primrose?

Do not take evening primrose without first talking to your doctor if you
  • have epilepsy or another seizure disorder;

  • have schizophrenia; or

  • are taking a phenothiazine medication including chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin, Permitil), mesoridazine (Serentil), perphenazine (Trilafon), prochlorperazine (Compazine), promethazine (Phenergan, Promethegan), thioridazine (Mellaril), trifluoperazine (Stelazine), or triflupromazine.

There may be an increased risk of seizures while taking evening primrose if you have either or the conditions, or are taking any of the medications listed above.

Evening primrose has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of evening primrose may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Who should not take evening primrose?

Do not take evening primrose without first talking to your doctor if you
  • have epilepsy or another seizure disorder;

  • have schizophrenia; or

  • are taking a phenothiazine medication including chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin, Permitil), mesoridazine (Serentil), perphenazine (Trilafon), prochlorperazine (Compazine), promethazine (Phenergan, Promethegan), thioridazine (Mellaril), trifluoperazine (Stelazine), or triflupromazine.

There may be an increased risk of seizures while taking evening primrose if you have either or the conditions, or are taking any of the medications listed above.

Talk to your doctor before taking evening primrose if you have any other medical conditions, allergies (especially to plants), or if you take other medicines or herbal/health supplements. Evening primrose may not be recommended in some situations.

Do not take evening primrose without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. It is not known whether evening primrose will harm an unborn baby. Do not take evening primrose without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. It is also not known whether evening primrose will harm a nursing infant. There is no information available regarding the use of evening primrose by children. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without first talking to the child's doctor.

How should I take evening primrose?

The use of evening primrose in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

If you choose to take evening primrose, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations of herbal/health supplements may provide a more reliable dose of the product.

Evening primrose is commonly available in capsules and as an oil. Other formulations may also be available.

Do not take more of this product than is directed. Too much could be dangerous. Do not use different formulations (e.g., tablets, topical formulations, teas, tinctures, and others) of evening primrose at the same time, unless specifically directed to do so by a health care professional. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose of evening primrose.

Store Evening primrose as directed on the package. In general, evening primrose should be protected from light and moisture.

What happens if I miss a dose?

No information is available regarding a missed dose of evening primrose. Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you require further information.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or notify your doctor immediately.

Reported symptoms of a evening primrose overdose have included loose stools and abdominal pain. Reported overdoses have not been life-threatening.

What should I avoid while taking evening primrose?

There are no known restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while taking evening primrose, unless otherwise directed by your health care provider.

Evening primrose side effects

Although uncommon, serious side effects have been reported with the use of evening primrose. Stop taking evening primrose and seek emergency medical attention if you experience:
  • a serious allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives); or

  • seizures.

Other less serious side effects that have been reported more commonly include:

  • indigestion,

  • nausea,

  • softening of the stools, and

  • headache.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect evening primrose?

Do not take evening primrose without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
  • any medicine to treat seizures or epilepsy,

  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine),

  • fluphenazine (Prolixin, Permitil),

  • mesoridazine (Serentil),

  • perphenazine (Trilafon),

  • prochlorperazine (Compazine),

  • promethazine (Phenergan, Promethegan),

  • thioridazine (Mellaril),

  • trifluoperazine (Stelazine), or

  • triflupromazine.

There may be an increased risk of seizures in patients who take evening primrose with any of the medications listed above. You may not be able to take evening primrose, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during your treatment.

No other interactions between evening primrose and other medicines have been reported. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines or other herbal/health supplements.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider may have more information about evening primrose.

  • Consultation with a licensed health care professional is advisable before using any herbal/health supplement. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous. Remember, keep this and all other prescription drug products, over-the-counter drug products, and herbal/health supplements out of the reach of children.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.03. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:07:57 PM.

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