Stevia Drug Interactions

by on June 22, 2012

Stevia as an all-natural, calorie-free sugar substitute that is commercially available in the US as well as in other countries. It is found in many food and beverage products and is also available as a tabletop sweetener. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as “Generally Recognized As Safe” and is approved for use as a food additive.

Although stevia is safe for the general population, caution is advised in some people who have underlying medical conditions or are using certain medications.

Significant Drug Interactions

Stevia can potentially interact with certain drugs and substances. Some of the drugs can interact with stevia include:

Commonly used for treatment of psychiatric conditions, particularly manic/depressive (bipolar) and depressive disorders, lithium can potentially interact with stevia. Stevia may have a diuretic effect (causing increased urination) which might reduce the excretion of lithium from the body. This could cause increased lithium levels in the blood and can lead to serious side effects. If you are on lithium therapy, be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider use of stevia. Depending on your blood lithium levels, your lithium dose may be changed or stevia may need to be withdrawn.

  • Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)

Antidiabetes Drugs – Stevia can potentially decrease blood sugar levels of people with diabetes. Taking stevia with diabetes medications (which usually lower blood sugar) might cause abnormally low blood sugar. If taking stevia together with antidiabetese drugs, be sure to closely monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your healthcare provider about stevia use. In some cases, dose adjustments may be recommended.

  • Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
  • Glimepiride (Amaryl)
  • Glipizide (Glucotrol)
  • Glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase prestab, Micronase)
  • Insulin, pioglitazone (Actos)
  • Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
  • Tolbutamide (Orinase)

Antihypertensive Drugs – In some people, stevia can lower the blood pressure. Combining stevia with antihypertensive drugs can cause significantly low blood pressure or hypotension. However, the specific effects of this drug interaction are still unknown. People taking medications for high blood pressure are advised to take stevia in moderation.

  • Amlodipine (Norvasc)
  • Captopril (Capoten)
  • Diltiazem (Cardizem)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril)
  • Losartan (Cozaar)
  • Valsartan (Diovan)

Some studies show that stevia may also interact with diurectics (medications that cause increased urine flow), monoketocholate (a substance that affects blood sugar and cholesterol levels), and hypocalcemic agents. An animal study suggests that verapamil (Calan), a calcium channel blocker, may potentiate the effects of stevioside – a derivative of stevia. Aside from these drugs, stevia can also interact with herbs and dietary supplements that lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

This resource does not contain all drugs that can interact with stevia. Consult your healthcare provider for more information about stevia drug interactions.