GUARANA, which comes from the seeds of the Paullinia cupana or Paullinia sorbilis plant, is a dietary supplement (an herbal remedy) that is promoted as a stimulant, increasing alertness in people who are tired or sleepy. It is also promoted as an aid for weight loss. The FDA does not recognize guarana as being safe or effective for any use at this time. Consult your health care professional prior to use of this herb. Guarana is found in many dietary supplements, sometimes in combination with other herbs or dietary supplements.
It is important for you to tell your prescriber or other health care professional that you are using guarana. Some herbs exert potent effects and may interact with other drugs you are taking.
You should discuss guarana with your health care professional BEFORE taking it if you have any of these conditions:
chest pain or pressure
heart disease, irregular heartbeat, or palpitations
high or low blood pressure
peptic ulcer disease or colitis
an unusual or allergic reaction to guarana, caffeine, other herbs, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Guarana is as a capsule, tablet, or syrup that should be taken orally (i.e., swallowed). It is recommended that guarana be taken once or twice a day and followed with a full glass of water. Follow the directions on the package labeling or talk to your health care professional.
Guarana is not recommended for use in children.
Missing a dose is probably not harmful. If you miss a dose, simply resume taking it on your previous schedule. Do not take double or extra doses.
barbiturate or benzodiazepine medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures (convulsions)
ephedra (ma huang), an herb found in some dietary supplements
female hormones, like estrogen or birth control pills
medications used to decrease blood pressure
medications used to treat irregular heart-beats or other heart conditions
medicines for colds and breathing difficulties
medications for depression, anxiety, or other emotional or psychiatric problems
medicines for sleep
medicines for weight loss
stimulants like amphetamine, dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate
warfarin and other blood thinners
For many herbs, interactions with other medications are unknown. That is why you should always be careful when mixing herbal remedies with traditional medications.
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
Since guarana is derived from a plant, allergic reactions are possible. Stop using this herb if you develop a rash.
Different brands of guarana may contain different amounts of active ingredients. It is recommended that you use a brand from a reliable manufacturer and one that has been standardized. A standardized product is more likely to contain the same amount of herb from dose to dose. Your health care professional or pharmacist can assist you in finding a standardized product.
Do not take guarana close to bedtime. It may prevent you from sleeping.
If you have been a regular guarana user you can get withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking guarana. Symptoms include tiredness, dizziness, headache, anxiety, or nervousness.
While taking guarana avoid food and drinks that contain additional caffeine, like coffee, tea, colas and chocolate.
Do not take guarana with other non-prescription medicines, especially cold and allergy medicines, without asking your prescriber or health care professional for advice.
Do not take guarana with grapefruit juice, this can increase the effects of the caffeine present in guarana.
If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber, surgeon, or health care professional that you are taking guarana.
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
anxiety or panic reactions
dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting spells
fast or irregular breathing or heartbeat (palpitations)
nausea and vomiting
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
frequent passing of urine
Reduce the amount of guarana you take if you get any of these side effects. Let your prescriber or health care professional know about them if they do not go away or if they annoy you.
Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.
Store at room temperature between 15—30 degrees C (59—86 degrees F). Keep the container well-sealed and protected from moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS:
Dietary supplements include amino acids, vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, and other plant-derived substances, and extracts of these substances. These products are easy to identify as they must state "Dietary Supplement" on the label. A "Supplement Facts" panel is provided on the label for most products. Supplements are not drugs and are not regulated like drugs. You should note that rigid quality control standards are not required for dietary supplements. Big differences in potency and purity of these products can occur. Scientific data to support the use of a dietary supplement for a certain disease or ailment may not be available. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
The Food and Drug Administration suggests the following to help consumers protect themselves:
Always read product labels and follow directions.
"Natural" doesn't mean a product is safe for humans to take.
Look for products containing ingredients with the "USP" notation. This indicates the manufacturer followed the standards of the US Pharmacopoeia.
Supplements produced or distributed by a nationally known food or drug company are more likely to be made under tight controls as these companies have standards in place for their other products. You can write to the company for more information about how the product was made.