September 24, 2018

Ask The Doctor > Questions & Answers > 5-Hydroxytryptophan effects on blood pressure

5-Hydroxytryptophan effects on blood pressure

Patient: I’m a 39 year old female with hypertention. I am medicated and have been for more than 15 years. I have seven children, and during pregnancies high blood pressure has been an issue, but all safe deliveries relatively on time. Last baby 7 years ago. Recently my medication which I have taken for 7 years, is not controlling my blood pressure at times. My routine is not changing and it happens just during the day where I get a head ache and my pressures go from 120/80 to 190/110. This seems to happen about once a month, for a few days. I have not paid attention if it related to my cycle but I plan to from this point on. I am taking propranolol 40 mg, 2, twice a day and lisinopril-HCTZ 20/25mg, once a day. Most recently I have started taking 5-HTP (100mg a day for 14 days a month) for PMS related symptoms, but I have had the spikes in bp for longer than I have been taking 5-HTP. My questions are:1. could anything in my cycle cause this new spike in bp, as on many days the meds control it, but a few days a month it does not.2. Should I be concerned about 5-HTP causing any spikes with blood pressure in addition to what I am already experiencing?3. Is there any other reason that I might be experiencing this days of high blood pressure?I have an appointment with my dr, but not for a few weeks. I jsut want some answers.



Doctor: There is some evidence to show slight fluctuation in blood pressure during different phases in the normal menstrual cycl e but I dont think this could account for the changes that you describe. 5-Hyrdroxytryptophan (5-HTP) may cause hypertension by increasing plasma renin activity, but has not been thoroughly studied in a clinical setting, and if you only take this for 14 days in the month this could be the cause of the substantial fluctuation. Unless absolutely necessary I would discontinue this supplement and monitor response in blood pressure. A 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor may provide a more accurate assessment of overall blood pressure measurements and this may be organised by your family doctor.




Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He currently operates a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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