Epimedium Safety

Epimedium products appear to be very popular, but what about their safety? You should talk to your healthcare provider before using this supplement if you have a bleeding disorder or have problems with low blood pressure (as Epimedium can cause problems in people with these conditions). Not much information is currently available about the effectiveness or safety of Epimedium.

Is Epimedium Safe? -- An Overview

Epimedium (horny goat weed) is a popular dietary supplement, claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different uses. You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Epimedium if you:
  • Have any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Have problems with low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Have any chronic or severe medical condition
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions for Epimedium

Warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of Epimedium include the following:
  • Theoretically, Epimedium could increase the risk of bleeding, including dangerous internal bleeding. This risk is probably most significant for people with bleeding disorders or who take "blood thinner" medications (see Drug Interactions With Epimedium).
  • Theoretically, Epimedium could cause dangerously low blood pressure. This is probably most important for people who already have a problem with low blood pressure. Let your healthcare provider know if you notice any low blood pressure symptoms, such as lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • As dietary supplements or food products, Epimedium products are not as closely regulated as prescription (or non-prescription) drugs. They can be marketed without any proof that they are either safe or effective. Do not assume that just because a product is sold or advertised in the United States that it is safe or effective. Be sure to look for Epimedium products from a reputable manufacturer. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are most reputable.
  • If you have a chronic or severe medical condition, it is always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including Epimedium.
  • It is not clear if Epimedium is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see Horny Goat Weed and Pregnancy and Horny Goat Weed and Breastfeeding).
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Epimedium Supplement Information

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