Pharmacology Book


Evening Primrose Oil

Aka: Evening Primrose Oil, Oenothera biennis
  1. Mechanism
    1. Seeds contain Essential Fatty Acid
      1. Linoleic Acid
      2. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a Omega 6 Fatty Acid
    2. Linoleic Acid is precursor to Prostaglandin E
      1. May replace deficiency in Premenstrual Syndrome
  2. Contraindications
    1. Seizure Disorder
    2. Concurrent Antipsychotic Medication
  3. Indications: Current use (preliminary studies suggest it is likely ineffective for most proposed uses)
    1. Mastalgia (especially cyclical Breast Pain)
      1. Premenstrual Syndrome
      2. Menopause
    2. Other experimental areas
      1. Atopic Dermatitis
      2. Diabetic Neuropathy
      3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  4. Dosing
    1. Evening Primrose Oil 500 mg capsules, 6 per day
  5. Adverse Effects
    1. Well tolerated
    2. Nausea
    3. Diarrhea
    4. Stool softening
    5. Headache
    6. May predispose to Seizure Disorder
  6. Efficacy
    1. Variable results in studies
    2. Small trials suggest unlikely benefit for most proposed indications
      1. Atopic Dermatitis
      2. Mastalgia
      3. Menopause
      4. Premenstrual Syndrome
    3. Insufficient evidence to support the use for other indications
      1. Diabetic Neuropathy
      2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  7. Drug Interactions: Possible interactions
    1. Phenothiazine Neuroleptics
    2. Anticonvulsants
  8. References
    1. Bayles (2009) Am Fam Physician 80(12): 1405-8 [PubMed]
    2. Chenoy (1994) BMJ 308(6927): 501-3 [PubMed]
    3. Pye (1985) Lancet 2:373-7 [PubMed]

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