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Unread 03-02-2006, 10:58 AM   #1
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Default Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

I keep hearing positive comments on the board about Valerian root as a sleep/relaxation agent. However, I have a friend who is into all kinds of herbs and she told me to not mix meds with herbs - vitamins yes - herbs, no.

I am currently taking:

200 mg Zoloft
300 mg Wellbutrin SR
1000 mg Depakote
100 mg Lamictal
224 mcg Synthroid

1-2 mg Ativan as needed

Thanks!!
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Unread 03-02-2006, 02:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

Although your friend has suggested a very well-intentioned and risk preventative rule, to avoid herb and drug combinations, that precautions is not always required. Let's take a look at valerian, and see where the problems might be. As it turns out, there has been a fairly significant amount of recent research into valerian, and its potential for drug interactions.

It has been a common theme to believe that there might be a potentiation of effect between valerian and sedatives like alcohol or Valium or Haldol, but close observation revealed no interaction of any sort.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=15901352

Most interactions involve disturbances of rates of metabolizing drugs in the liver, and a close examination of that found that valerian had no effect on common liver enzymes.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=15900287

In contrast, another study found modest effect on enzymes 2D6 and 3A4, but concluded that "typical doses of valerian are unlikely to produce clinically significant effects on the disposition of medications dependent on the CYP2D6 or CYP3A4 pathways of metabolism."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=15328251

So, I'm inclined to believe that if there is any interaction in the liver, it is modest, and not of any real concern. But then, we have to consider the activity of the drug itself. What does valerian do?

Well, it binds to melatonin receptors, and presumably agonizes them, "supplementing" your own melatonin, but it also hits a few serotonin receptors, including ones in the gut.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=15636177

Looks okay so far. But what about the anxiolytic effect, the GABA-ergic one? There might be a problem there. Because of the GABA-receptor binding, people who undergo a general anaesthetic may have additive sedation. So, you must reveal your use of valerian if you contemplate surgery.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=14742369

The only drug you list where there seems to be an obvious clash is the "Ativan as needed". You may experience additive sedation, if you use Ativan before the valerian has worn off.

So, in this specific case, I am not concerned. However, it is always important to treat herbs as drugs. Your body may not like the combination, regardless of the science. I had a paradoxical reaction to valerian, and was unable to sleep at all. Brains and bodies differ.

One comment about valerian.....for some people, it tends to work better after a week or so has gone by. I wouldn't use it more than a maximum of 3 months. And then a holiday of minimum 4 weeks.

I hope I covered everything.

Lar
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Unread 03-02-2006, 02:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

I am presently taking Celexa (20 mg) and I can say that I do take Valerian in between when needed.... I got my doctors OK and checked drug interaction (if any) before I took this step - I would suggest that you do the same.


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Unread 03-02-2006, 03:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

Thank you so much, Larry! I really appreciate the trouble you go to in finding those articles, posting them here, then interpreting them!

I feel better about using Valerian root to see if I can cut back on the benzo sleeping aids. (I don't have any until my next pdoc visit, only the Ativan, and had been having difficulty sleeping for several nights.)

Yes, I will check with pdoc at next visit to get his input. As with many older Dr's, he doesn't seem to put a lot of stock in supplements/vitamins at all. Will be interesting to see what he says.

Many thanks!!
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Unread 03-02-2006, 03:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

Hi, Rhapsody!

Your mention of using Valerian Root was one among others that made me look into it. Are just on the one medication? My concern was that I'm on so many meds that something has to eventually interact with ~something~ if that makes sense? lol
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Unread 03-03-2006, 09:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

No.... while I am just on the one medicine for my mood swings / anxiety disorder - I do take three other medicines for physical medical problems that I have.

I use this website to check my DRUGS interaction with other meds / herbs / alcohol / food - drinks.
LINK: http://www.drugdigest.com/DD/Interaction/ChooseDrugs



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Unread 03-03-2006, 09:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

You can't take anything herbal while on zoloft. It even says so on the patient information thing you get from the pharmacy!

I was taking zoloft and one of our counselors gave us some herbal tea to drink for homework. I tried to drink it and very soon after drinking the tea my body had a very bad reaction! My body was reacting as though I was having a severe panic attack even though I wasn't...not a good idea in my book.
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Unread 03-04-2006, 12:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

That's interesting...I would think herbal tea would be so diluted. Hmmmmmm....

Thank you everyone for the input!
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Unread 03-04-2006, 10:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: Mixing Valerian Root with Antidepressants? - Larry?

She's right, don't mix herbs and your meds. My former pdoc and my present say one shouldn't, risk of reaction and interactions. Herbs and their properties are not documented and regulated like medications manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, where medications have to go through clinical trials,everything being documented,etc. before FDA approval. Herbs,purchased at many health food stores haven't been put through this process, so one has much less an idea of how many different reactions/interactions will occur with their prescribed meds. In doubt, I'd clear this with the prescribing doc,before mixing anything, even if someone says it's safe to. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Take care,
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