Phenobarbital and its relative phenobarbitone are sometimes used to control seizures.
Phenobarbital has been reported to cause increased sensitivity to the sun, amplifying the risk of sunburn or skin rash. Because St. John's wort and dong quai may also cause this problem, taking them during treatment with this drug might add to this risk.
It may be a good idea to wear a sunscreen or protective clothing during sun exposure if you take one of these herbs while using this anticonvulsant.
The herb ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has been used to treat Alzheimer's disease and ordinary age-related memory loss, among many other conditions.
This interaction involves potential contaminants in ginkgo, not ginkgo itself.
In light of these findings, taking a ginkgo product that happened to contain significant levels of the nerve toxin might theoretically prevent an anticonvulsant from working as well as expected.
The herb kava (Piper methysticum) has a sedative effect and is used for anxiety and insomnia.
Combining kava with anticonvulsants, which possess similar depressant effects, could result in "add-on" or excessive physical depression, sedation, and impairment.
Because of the potentially serious consequences, you should avoid combining these herbs with anticonvulsants or other drugs that also have sedative or depressant effects, such as phenobarbital, unless advised by your physician.
Because phenobarbital works (at least in part) by blocking glutamate pathways in the brain, high dosages of glutamine might possibly overwhelm the drug and increase the risk of seizures.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -