What is this medication?
As an adjunct to antidepressant drug treatment in the management of patients suffering from depressive disorders (bipolar affective disorders). It is also sometimes recommended over the counter for mild insomnia.
How does this medication work?
L-Tryptophan is one of the eight essential amino acids. L-tryptophan is metabolized into serotonin and nicotinic acid. Approximately 98 % of dietary L-tryptophan is metabolized into nicotinic acid and only a very small amount is being metabolized to 5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP) then to serotonin. Tryptophan hydroxylase, the enzyme responsible for this step, is the rate limiting enzyme for serotonin production and is normally only about half saturated.
How should I take this medication?
Oral: 8-12 g/day given in 3-4 equally divided doses as tolerated. Lower doses have been reported to be effective in combination with other antidepressants.
How to Take: Take with food to reduce gastric side effects.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Before starting L-Tryptophan make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take, if you have a history of bladder cancer, have diabetes, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. L-Tryptophan may cause drowsiness/CNS depression and so care should be taken before operating heavy machinery or driving.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
How should I store this medication?
Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C). Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.
What are the possible side effects of using this medication?
L-tryptophan, in doses below 5 g/day may cause dry mouth and drowsiness. High doses such as 9-12 g/day may cause nausea, anorexia, dizziness, and headache. Sexual disinhibition has been reported in some patients with emotional disorders.
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