Bitter Orange Side Effects
Bitter orange has been shown to have a number of side effects and medication interactions.
High Blood Pressure
Studies have shown the stimulant effects of bitter orange, especially when combined with caffeine can cause an elevated blood pressure, even in people who are otherwise healthy. As such, studies have not been conducted to determine what this does to people who already have high blood pressure, and is not recommended those with high blood pressure use the supplement.
Studies indicate that using bitter orange may worsen glaucoma. If you suffer from this condition, do not use the supplement.
Heart Arrhythmia (Irregular Heartbeat)
Some studies indicate that when bitter orange is used, especially in conjunction with caffeine, the stimulant can cause an irregular heartbeat in people who are otherwise healthy. There are other studies that show no adverse effect on the heart rate. No studies have been done on how this affects people who already have an irregular heartbeat, so those that do are advised to avoid it. It is best to avoid this supplement if you have any sort of heart condition, as it may cause symptoms to worsen.
Since this is a stimulant, it may interfere with surgical procedures, due to the increased heart rate and blood pressure. Stop using this supplement two weeks before surgery.
Pregnancy and Nursing
This supplement is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers, as there is not yet enough evidence to show that this supplement would not harm an unborn child. However, eating foods with small amounts of bitter orange has not been shown harmful.
Bitter Orange Interactions
As with side effects, using bitter orange with certain medications may cause interactions. Here are the potential interactions to watch for.
Major Interaction: MAOIs (Depression Medications)
If you are taking any prescription depression medications classified as an MAOI, such as Nardil or Parnate, do not use bitter orange. This can cause elevated heart rate, nervousness, or seizures.
Major Interaction: Versed
If you are taking the prescription medication Versed, bitter orange can slow the rate at which the body breaks the medication down to get rid of it, leading to an increase in the side effects you may experience with the medication.
Moderate Interaction: Caffeine
When bitter orange is used with other stimulants, it can dramatically increase blood pressure and heart rate, leading to heart attack and stroke.
Moderate Interaction: Dextromethorphan
When bitter orange is used with anything that contains dextromethorphan, such as Robitussin DM, it slows down at the rate which the body breaks it down to get it out of the system. This increases the potential for side effects from the medication.
Moderate Interaction: Plendil
This drug is used to lower blood pressure. As bitter orange can raise it, there is potential for interaction with this medication. Bitter orange can slow the rate at which the body breaks the medication down to get rid of it, leading to an increase in the side effects you may experience with the medication.
Moderate Interaction: Crixivan
Crixivan is a prescription medication used to treat HIV/AIDS. bitter orange can slow the rate at which the body breaks the medication down to get rid of it, leading to an increase in the side effects you may experience with the medication.
As we are not doctors, we do not recommend you use this supplement without first speaking to one to make sure you are not using any medications that will interact with it. While many people use bitter orange extract and never experience side effects, it is important to remember that all natural does not always mean safe for everyone.