Hypericum Perforatum & Cyclosporine

Cyclosporine and St John’s Wort have a dubious connection.

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is a perennial herb that has small yellow flowers when it blooms around June 24, known as St. John’s Day. It is believed that ancient Greeks used St. John’s Wort for treating demonic possession. It has also been used to encourage wounds to heal and to treat snakebite, worms, digestive problems and fever. It is now widely used to treat depression. According to Web MD, cyclosporine is a drug commonly prescribed under the brand name Sandimmune and is “a cyclic oligopeptide immunosuppressant produced by the fungus Tolypocladium inflatum Gams.”

Organ Transplant

Patients who have received organ transplants require immunosuppressive therapy to lower the risk of organ rejection. Cyclosporin A is a immunosuppressive agent. Health care practitioners monitor the amount of cyclosporin A in the blood to keep it at acceptable levels. There have been incidences where patients who took Hypericum perforatum to manage depression had a significant drop in blood levels of cyclosporin A. When patients discontinued using Hypericum perforatum, cyclosporin A levels returned to normal and liver function recovered. Organ rejection has been associated with a drop in cyclosporin A levels.

Depression

Hypericum perforatum is mainly known for its use in treating mild to moderate depression. The results from case reports, clinical trials and drug monitoring studies show that hypericum perforatum is well tolerated, however adverse effects may include dizziness, confusion, gastrointestinal symptoms and tiredness. Photo-sensitivity is the most serious adverse result, but it occurs rarely. According to an article in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, more long-term safety studies of Hypericum perforatum are needed. If you are taking prescriptions drugs, consult your health care provider before taking any herbal supplement due to possible drug interaction problems.

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Homeopathic Hypericum Perforatum

Homeopathy is based on the idea that, “like cures like.” Practitioners use very minute dilutions of substances to create liquid and tablets that are dissolved under the tongue. Hypericum perforatum homeopathic remedies treat nerve injuries, especially of the fingers and toes. It is also used for lockjaw prevention and as a pain reliever after surgery.

Dosage of Hypericum Perforatum

A typical dose is to take one capsule, three times per day when using 300 mg capsules. Follow label instructions. If you are taking MAO-inhibitors, consult your physician before taking Hypericum perforatum. Also watch for reddening of the skin–a sign of photo-sensitivity problems. Homeopathic remedies come in widely varying dilutions so follow label directions when using them.

Cyclosporine Side Effects

Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant drug. Immunosuppressants lower the body’s ability to ward off disease and illness so patients are more susceptible to infections, cancers and other diseases. High blood pressure and kidney problems may occur from taking cyclosporine and the risks associated with this increase with time and dosage increases. Patients who have been treated with phototheraphies (like PUVA and UVB), coal tar, radiation therapy and methotrexate have an increased risk of developing skin cancer.