What happens when Milk Thistle interact with drugs?

What happens when Milk Thistle interact with drugs?

Milk thistle interaction with Drugs

Interaction of a substance generally refers to a potential risk that could develop inside the human body when two or more drugs, products, or medical conditions, interact with one another in a negative manner that could result in certain unwanted health conditions. 

Natural products such as milk thistle are generally considered safe when taken in food amounts but might be harmful when consumed as a medicine amount like supplements. If an individual is medicating with certain medical drugs to treat any condition, there might be a possibility of interaction between those drugs and milk thistle . This could cause complications in the condition that is to be treated or could result in new unwanted conditions. Such interacting medical drugs include:

  • Antidiabetic Drug– Antidiabetic medicines are used to lower the blood sugar level of the body. Milk thistle might also decrease the blood sugar level of the body. Combination of both might result in abnormally low blood sugar levels than usual causing complications. It is recommended to keep a frequent check on the blood sugar level when consuming milk thistle along with antidiabetic drugs or avoid it. Such antidiabetic drugs include glimepiride (Amaryl), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), tolbutamide (Orinase), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), metformin (Glucophage), rosiglitazone (Avandia), glipizide (Glucotrol), and several others.
  • Antiplatelet/Anticoagulant drugs– Intake of milk thistle along with drugs that resist blood clotting could increase the risk of bruising and bleeding due to lower blood clotting than usual. Drugs that decreases the blood clotting includes clopidogrel (Plavix), enoxaparin (Lovenox), warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, dalteparin (Fragmin), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), and several others.

There are also several other medicines and drugs that interact with milk thistle because both are broken down by the same liver enzyme causing interaction. such drugs include:

  • High cholesterol
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Cancer drugs
  • Allergy drugs

Precautions and warnings before using Milk thistle

Although being a natural herb that is used for a number of medical applications, there are certain medical conditions in a human body in which intake of Milk thistle must be limited or avoided in order to prevent complications. Interference of this herb could result in worsening of certain medical conditions or might cause other unwanted conditions. Such medical conditions includes:

  • Pregnancy– There is not enough evidence regarding safety of mother or nursing child while pregnant when Milk thistle is consumed. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid using this herb during Pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding– There is not enough evidence regarding safety of mother or nursing child while breastfeeding and consuming milk thistle. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid using this herb during breastfeeding.
  • Surgery– Consuming milk thistle might weaken the effects of drugs administered during surgery by mild increase in drug metabolism of the body. It is advisable to withdraw consuming milk thistle at least 2-3 weeks before surgery.
  • Diabetes– Milk thistle is a kind of natural herb that decreases the sugar level of an individual. People dealing with diabetes tend to use antidiabetic drugs. Consumption of both might increase the risk of fall in sugar level more than usual that could result in creating unwanted complications.
  • Bleeding disorder– Individuals diagnosed with bleeding disorder tend to use drugs that increase the clotting of blood. Milk thistle might decrease the effectiveness of such drugs resulting in creased risk of bleeding.
  • Allergy– An individual must make sure to avoid consuming milk thistle if allergic to it or any other natural herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family.

Side effects of using Milk thistle

Interaction of Milk thistle with several medical drugs, overdose, or no precautionary actions against several medical conditions might cause certain unusual or allergic side effects and condition in a human body that includes:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rash
  • Allergic reactions
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Anaphylaxis

There could be more side effects not mentioned in the above list. An individual must make sure to consume Milk thistle with proper precaution and avoid interaction in order to prevent side effects. However if side effects are observed, it is advisable to contact a doctor or get immediate medical attention as soon as possible if necessary.


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