Possible Interactions with: Green Tea

Interactions

If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not drink green tea or take green tea extract without first talking to your health care provider:

Adenosine -- Green tea may inhibit the actions of adenosine, a medication given in the hospital for an irregular (and usually unstable) heart rhythm.

Antibiotics, Beta-lactam -- Green tea may increase the effectiveness of beta-lactam antibiotics by reducing bacterial resistance to treatment.

Benzodiazepines -- Caffeine (including caffeine from green tea) has been shown to reduce the sedative effects of benzodiazepines (medications commonly used to treat anxiety, such as diazepam and lorazepam).

Beta-blockers, Propranolol, and Metoprolol -- Caffeine (including caffeine from green tea) may increase blood pressure in people taking propranolol and metoprolol (medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease).

Blood Thinning Medications (Including Aspirin) -- People who take warfarin, a blood thinning medication, should not drink green tea. Since green tea contains vitamin K, it can make warfarin ineffective. Meanwhile, you should not mix green tea and aspirin because they both prevent platelets from clotting. Using the two together may increase your risk of bleeding.

Chemotherapy -- The combination of green tea and chemotherapy medications, specifically doxorubicin and tamoxifen, increased the effectiveness of these medications in laboratory tests. However, these results have not yet been demonstrated in studies on people. On the other hand, there have been reports of both green and black tea extracts stimulating a gene in prostate cancer cells that may cause them to be less sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Given this potential interaction, people should not drink black and green tea (as well as extracts of these teas) while receiving chemotherapy for prostate cancer in particular.

Clozapine -- The anti-psychotic effects of the medication clozapine may be reduced if taken fewer than 40 minutes after drinking green tea.

Ephedrine -- When taken together with ephedrine, green tea may cause agitation, tremors, insomnia, and weight loss.

Lithium -- Green tea has been shown to reduce blood levels of lithium (a medication used to treat manic/depression).

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) -- Green tea may cause a severe increase in blood pressure (called a "hypertensive crisis") when taken together with MAOIs, which are used to treat depression. Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine and tranylcypromine.

Oral Contraceptives -- Oral contraceptives can prolong the amount of time caffeine stays in the body and may increase its stimulating effects.

Phenylpropanolamine -- A combination of caffeine (including caffeine from green tea) and phenylpropanolamine (an ingredient used in many over-the-counter and prescription cough and cold medications and weight loss products) can cause mania and a severe increase in blood pressure. The FDA issued a public health advisory in November 2000 to warn people of the risk of bleeding in the brain from use of this medication and has strongly urged all manufacturers of this drug to remove it from the market.

Drug Interactions

  • Clozapine
  • Diazepam
  • Doxorubicin
  • Lithium
  • Lorazepam
  • Tamoxifen

Alternative Names

Camellia sinensis; Green Tea

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 11/30/2007
  • Ernest B. Hawkins, MS, BSPharm, RPh, Health Education Resources; and Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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This page was last updated: May 31, 2013

         
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