Is Elderberry Safe With Amoxicillin?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not amoxicillin is safe to take with elderberry.

Question

I have a sinus infection and was just put on amoxicillin. I've heard elderberry supplements can help me get better faster. Is it okay to take with amoxicillin?

Asked by Holly On Jul 09, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Jul 09, 2022
Last updated Jul 09, 2022

Key points

  • There is no known drug interaction between elderberry and amoxicillin.

Hello and thanks for reaching out to us! I can certainly understand wanting to take a supplement that will help you feel better faster!

The good news here is that there are no known or expected interactions between amoxicillin and elderberry. They are considered safe to take together.

It is always a little challenging to evaluate dietary supplements for drug interactions due to the lack of studies, but elderberry is one of the more well-studied ones. There is nothing to indicate it interferes with amoxicillin and vice versa.

So, if you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, and you want to take a supplement that contains elderberry in an effort to try and feel better sooner, elderberry appears to be safe.

What Is Elderberry?

Elderberry has a long history of use medically for its purported immune system-enhancing effects. It is mostly marketed in over-the-counter supplements to help shorten the duration of colds and the flu.

Although there have been relatively few studies testing how well it works in this regard, some small clinical studies have shown it can affect different components of the immune system (e.g. cytokines) and may have positive benefits in healthy adults and children. Other studies have shown no benefit, however. More rigorous studies are needed to better understand exactly the benefits it can have as a supplement.

Regardless, elderberry seems relatively safe to use in amounts that would commonly be found in food. In fact, it is 'generally recognized as safe' (GRAS) by the FDA.

There are no known drug interactions between elderberry and prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Based on studies showing that it may have immunostimulating effects, it theoretically could interact with immunosuppressants, but this has not been shown clinically. Regardless, simply due to the lack of available information, it should not be combined with drugs that work by suppressing the immune system.

What Is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as pneumonia; bronchitis (infection of the airway tubes leading to the lungs); and infections of the ears, nose, throat, urinary tract, and skin. It is also used in combination with other medications to eliminate H. pylori, a bacteria that causes ulcers.

Amoxicillin is in a class of medications called penicillin-like antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. It will not work for colds, flu, and other viral infections.

Other Antibiotics?

Just like with amoxicillin, studies indicate that elderberry is safe to take with most antibiotics (i.e. has no drug interaction). This includes antibiotics like:

  • Penicillin
  • Augmentin
  • Bactrim
  • Keflex
  • Clindamycin
  • Levaquin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Doxyxycline

Final Words

Thanks again for reaching out to us!

References

  • Amoxicillin Monograph, PubChem
  • Amoxil Prescribing Information, AccessFDA
  • Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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