Can You Take Echinacea With Antibiotics?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not there is an interaction between echinacea and antibiotics.
Hi. I was just prescribed antibiotics for a sinus infection and I also want to take some echinacea that I have. Is that safe to do? I want to avoid drug interactions. Thanks!
Last updated Sep 27, 2023
- There are no known interactions between echinacea and commonly used antibiotics such as amoxicillin, cephalexin and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim.
Hello and thank you for your question!
Echinacea is one of the most commonly used herbals in those feeling under the weather, and there are studies that show it may be effective in reducing the risk of catching a cold (although there is less evidence that it helps reduce the duration of a cold if you already have one).
In my time as a pharmacist, I've been asked about echinacea quite often, and whether or not it is safe to take while on antibiotics.
While I always preface my answers regarding herbals by saying that there is generally a lack of a solid body of evidence when it comes to their effectiveness and potential drug interactions, based on the published data that we do have, echinacea appears to be safe to take with most medications, including antibiotics.
The National Institute of Health states as much:
Current evidence indicates that the risk of interactions between echinacea supplements and most medications is low.
You don't mention in your question the specific antibiotic you are taking, but again, there is no evidence that shows echinacea interacts with any antibiotic.
Echinacea Interaction With Antibiotics
Echinacea is a widely used herb native to the central United States. It is most commonly used for to treat common viral and bacterial infections, and preliminary evidence shows that it may help the body that decrease inflammation and strengthen the immune system.
In terms of drug interactions, as mentioned, there aren't many reported, and it is generally considered safe with most medications, including antibiotics.
There are no reported between echinacea and the most commonly used antibiotics used to treat sinus infections, including:
There have been studies reporting interactions with antivirals however. For example, one study found that echinacea may interact with several HIV medications, including darunavir and ritonavir, by decreasing their concentrations, but the authors of the study noted that the interaction were likely not clinically significant.
Going back to antibiotics, you can feel safe knowing that echinacea likely won't interact with what you are taking. Echinacea also has very few reported side effects (e.g. nausea, stomach cramps) and happen only rarely.
I hope you start to feel better!
- Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD
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