5-Htp Side Effects

Updated November 21, 2016

5-Htp is a dietary supplement that is used by many people today. It is most commonly used in the treatment of depression. However, 5-Htp has been associated with some side effects that you may want to consider before using this supplement.


Most antidepressants work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. 5-Htp has a similar effect on the brain, and works to bring serotonin levels within normal limits. This helps to elevate your mood and eliminate other symptoms of depression.

Stomach Upset

One of the most common side effects of supplementing with 5-Htp is stomach disturbances such as heartburn, flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, rumbling stomach and a feeling of fullness.

Skin Conditions

5-Htp may cause uncomfortable skin rashes such as flushing or a "red dot" rash. Another side effect that has been associated with this dietary supplement is vivid dreams or nightmares.

Drug Interactions

Anyone taking antidepressants or sedatives should check with his physician before supplementing with 5-Htp. 5-Htp should not be used with alcohol, Parkinson's medications, weight loss medications, anxiety medications, barbiturates or chemotherapy drugs to avoid possible adverse reactions.


5-Htp should not be used by anyone suffering from conditions such as heart disease, stroke, anorexia, ulcers, IBS, liver disease, lung disease, Crohn's disease or sickle cell anaemia. Always take 5-Htp as prescribed by your doctor, or as the label recommends.

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About the Author

Tracy Hodge has been a professional writer since 2007. She currently writes content for various websites, specializing in health and fitness. Hodge also does ghostwriting projects for books, as well as poetry pieces. She has studied nutrition extensively, especially bodybuilding diets and nutritional supplements.