Is it really dangerous to combine Ayahuasca with certain pharmaceutical and street drugs?
Absolutely, positively, YES. Ayahuasca can have potentially lethal interactions with a number of pharmaceutical medications (prescription and over the counter) and recreational street drugs, and can even lead to negative reactions when combined with some herbs. Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi vine) is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). The combination of MAOIs, including Ayahuasca, and certain other pharmaceuticals and drugs can be life threatening. For more information on interactions between MAOI and other drugs, see here and here.
Using other serotonin agonists or precursors with a MAOI can cause serotonin syndrome, which is typically characterized by severe headache, fever and or rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Severe serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening.
Using stimulants with Ayahuasca can potentially be fatal. Using cocaine, amphetamines or MDMA (Ecstasy) with MAOIs may severely increase heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the chance for heart attack, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke and death. It is possible to overdose on even just a small amount of cocaine while taking Ayahuasca.
Find out for sure from your doctor how long you should get off contraindicated drugs before and after taking Ayahuasca. Some drugs, including Prozan and most SSRIs, can take weeks or months to clear the body. Chances are your doctor may not be familiar with Ayahuasca, but tell him/her that it is a reversible MAOI. Doctors are bound by doctor-patient confidentiality so don’t be nervous about telling them if you are planning to drink Ayahuasca.
Diabetics who are taking insulin or oral medication should consult with their doctor, since MAOIs may change the amount medication needed.
There are also certain foods you should avoid when taking Ayahuasca.
Because these medications need to be reduced gradually, consulting with your doctor is especially critical if you are taking:
- Antidepressants (such as Effexor, Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Zoloft
- SSRI (serotonin selective re-uptake inhibitors)
Ayahuasca with any of these pharmaceuticals in your system can be dangerous:
- Other MAOIs
- SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
- Antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
- Appetite suppressants (diet pills)
- Asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing medinces
- Central nervous system (CNS) depressants
- Cold, sinus, hay fever, or allergies medicins (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz, Bromarest DM or DX, Dimetane DX cough syrup, Dristan Cold & Flu, Phenergan with Dextromethorphan, Robitussin-DM, Vicks Formula 44-D, several Tylenol cold, cough, and flu preparations, and many others)
- DXM (dextromethorphan) or anything with “DM”, “D”X or “Tuss” in its name,
Ayahuasca with any of these street drugs in your system can be dangerous:
- Cocaine (people have died )
- Amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine), ephedrine, MDMA (Ecstasy), MDA, MDEA, PMA
- Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine, and especially opium)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
- Mescaline (any phenethylamine)
Some specific pharmaceuticals that should not be combined with MAOIs (some are serious risks, others mild):
- Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)
- Amantadine hydrochloride (Symmetrel)
- Amoxapine (Asendin)
- Benmoxinb (Nerusil, Neuralex)
- Benzphetamine (Didrex)
- Brofaromine (Consonar)
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Buspirone (BuSpar)
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Cyclizine (Marezine)
- Desipramine (Pertofrane, Norpramin)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
- Dienolide kavapyrone desmethoxyyangonin
- Disopyramide (Norpace)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Dopamine (Intropin)
- Doxepin (Sinequan)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Epinephrine (Adrenalin)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Fenfluramine (Pondimin)
- Flavoxate Hydrochloride (Urispas)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Furazolidone (Furoxone)
- Guanadrel (Hylorel)
- Guanethidine (Ismelin)
- Hydralazine (Apresoline)
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Iproniazid (Marsilid, Iprozid, Ipronid, Rivivol, Propilniazida)
- Iproclozide (Sursum)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Isoniazid (Laniazid, Nydrazid)
- Isoniazid rifampin (Rifamate, Rimactane)
- Isoproterenol (Isuprel)
- L-dopa (Sinemet)
- Lazabemide (Pakio, Tempium)
- Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa)
- Linezolid (Zyvox, Zyvoxid)
- Lithium (Eskalith)
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
- Mebanazine (Actomol)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Metaproterenol (Alupent, Metaprel)
- Metaraminol (Aramine)
- Metfendrazine (Inkazan)
- Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)
- Methyldopa (Aidomet)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Minaprine (Cantor)
- Mirtazapine (Remeron)
- Moclobemide (Aurorix, Manerix)
- Montelukast (Singulair)
- Nialamide (Niamid)
- Norepinephrine (Levophed)
- Nortriptyline (Aventyl)
- Octamoxin (Ximaol, Nimaol)
- Oxybutynin chloride (Ditropan)
- Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
- Orphenadrine (Norflex)
- Pargyline (Eutonyl)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Pemoline (Cylert)
- Pethedine (Demerol)
- Phendimetrazine (Plegiline)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Phenelzine (Nardil, Nardelzine)
- Pheniprazine (Catron)
- Phenoxypropazine (Drazine)
- Phenylephrine (Dimetane, Dristan decongestant, Neo-Synephrine)
- Phenylpropanolamine (found in many cold medicines)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Pirlindole (Pirazidol)
- Procarbazine (Matulane)
- Procainamide (Pronestyl)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil)
- Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
- Quinidine (Quinidex)
- Rasagiline (Azilect)
- Reserpine (Serpasil)
- Selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
- Terfenadine (Seldane-D)
- Theophylline (Theo-Dur)
- Thioridazine (Mellaril)
- Toloxatone (Humoryl)
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Elavil)
- Trimipramine (Surmontil)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
Avoid these herbs for at least 48 hours before and after taking Ayahuasca:
- Johns Wort (if it has been taken regularly, needs two weeks to clear the system)
- Carrot seed
- Dill seed
- Fennel seed
- Horny Goat Weed
- Licorice Root
- Parsley seed
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Scotch Broom
- Siberian Ginseng
- Yerba Mate
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