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What herbal supplements should I avoid taking after a liver transplant?

The list below summarizes some of the herbal products that are known to interact with liver transplant medications, including:
  • Neoral / Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  • Prograf (tacrolimus)
  • Rapamune (sirolimus)
Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list of herbal products that should be avoided; please check with a transplant healthcare provider before taking any herbal and/or over-the-counter medications.
  • Echinacea -- may stimulate the immune system and increases the risk of transplant rejection; decreases effectiveness of immunosuppressant medications
  • Ephedra -- increases blood pressure, heart rate, heart palpitations, and risk of stroke
  • Garlic -- can affect blood sugar control; increases the effects of blood thinners (aspirin and warfarin), which may increase the risk of bleeding
  • Ginkgo -- slows the body's ability to metabolize drugs appropriately; has blood thinning properties which may increase risk of bleeding
  • Ginseng -- slows the body's ability to metabolize drugs appropriately; may increase the risk of bleeding; can cause low blood sugar; can lead to trouble sleeping, nervousness, and agitation
  • Kava -- interacts with prescription drug products such as sedatives and analgesics;
  • interferes with perception and movement
  • Melatonin -- may stimulate the immune system to increase the risk of transplant rejection; associated with excessive sleepiness, confusion, and headache
  • Red Yeast Rice -- interacts with many prescription drug products; can cause severe muscle pain
  • St. John's Wort -- many drug interactions which may increase the risk of transplant rejection; increases sensitivity to sunlight
  • Valerian -- many drug interactions which may increase the risk of transplant rejection; contraindicated in individuals taking sedatives or anxiolytics

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.