If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you
should not use vitamin E supplements without first talking to your healthcare
Antidepressant Medications, Tricyclic
Vitamin E inhibits the
uptake by cells of the antidepressant desimpramine, which belongs to a class of
drugs known as tricyclics. Other members of that class include imipramine and
Vitamin E can inhibit the uptake by
cells of the antipsychotic medication called chlorpromazine, which belongs to a
class of drugs known as phenothiazines.
A study evaluating the effects of vitamin E and
aspirin suggests that the combination appears to be safe and may benefit
patients at risk for stroke.
Vitamin E may protect against toxicity and side effects
from AZT, a medication used to treat HIV and AIDS.
Beta Blockers for high blood pressure
Vitamin E inhibits the
uptake by cells of propranolol, a member of a class of medications called beta
blockers used for high blood pressure. Other beta-blockers include atenolol and
Birth Control Medications
Vitamin E may provide antioxidant
benefits to women taking birth control medications.
Vitamin E can inhibit the uptake into cells of
chloroquine, a medication used to treat malaria.
medications such as colestipol and cholestyramine, called bile-acid
sequestrants, decrease the absorption of vitamin E. Gemfibrozil, a different
type of cholesterol-lowering medication called a fibric acid derivative, may
also reduce vitamin E levels. A third class of medications used to lower
cholesterol levels known as statins (such as atorvastatin, pravastatin, and
lovastatin), may reduce the antioxidant activity of vitamin E. On the other
hand, the combination of vitamin E supplements with statins may help protect
blood vessels from dysfunction.
Vitamin E may interact with cyclosporine, a
medication used to treat cancer, reducing the effectiveness of both the
supplement and the medication. However, there appears to be some controversy
regarding the nature of this interaction; another study suggests that the
combination of vitamin E and cyclosporine may actually increase the effects of
the medication. More research is needed to determine the safety of this
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Vitamin E supplements may benefit
women taking hormone replacement therapy by improving lipid profiles.
Simultaneous supplementation with vitamins A, C,
E, and selenium significantly reduced the effectiveness of this vermifuge
(treatment to eradicate intestinal worms) in a study.
Tamoxifen, a hormonal treatment for breast cancer,
increases blood levels of triglycerides, increasing one's chances of developing
high cholesterol. In a study of 54 women with breast cancer, vitamins C and E,
taken along with the tamoxifen, counteracted this by decreasing low density
cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing high density cholesterol.
The antioxidants also enhanced the anti-cancer action of the tamoxifen.
Taking vitamin E at the same time as warfarin, a
blood-thinning medication, increases the risk of abnormal bleeding, especially
in vitamin K-deficient individuals.
Weight Loss Products
Orlistat, a medication used for weight
loss and olestra, a substance added to certain food products, are both intended
to bind to fat and prevent the absorption of fat and the associated calories.
Because of their effects on fat, orlistat and olestra may also prevent the
absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E. Given this concern and
possibility, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that vitamin E
and other fat soluble vitamins (namely, A, D, and K) be added to food products
containing olestra. How well vitamin E from such food products is absorbed and
used by the body is not clear. In addition, physicians who prescribe orlistat
may add a multivitamin with fat soluble vitamins to the regimen.