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Dangerous Side Effects of Forskolin

by
author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Dangerous Side Effects of Forskolin
A woman is resting in bed and has pills on her bedside table. Photo Credit Andrey Popov/iStock/Getty Images

Forskolin is a natural supplement derived from the root of a plant called Coleus forskohlii. Traditionally, this herbal treatment has been used to treat a variety of health conditions including insomnia, convulsions and heart and lung diseases. Treatment with forskolin may also aid in weight management; however, additional research validating these purported benefits of forskolin is needed. Discuss the potentially dangerous side effects of forskolin with your medical provider before beginning treatment.

Low Blood Pressure

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center warns that treatment with forskolin may lower your blood pressure. This potentially dangerous side effect, called hypotension, may induce dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, diminished concentration, pale skin, fatigue or loss of consciousness. If you have such side effects, you may be at risk of sustaining an injury from tripping or falling down. Severely low blood pressure levels may prevent your vital organs from getting the oxygen they need to function normally. Consequently, severe hypotension may result in permanent heart or brain damage. Seek care from your physician if you experience recurrent symptoms of hypotension to ensure you receive appropriate care.

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Elevated Heart Rate

Treatment with forskolin may elevate your normal heart rate, a side effect referred to as tachycardia. When your heart rate increases significantly, you may experience lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitation, rapid pulse or loss of consciousness. Dangerous complications associated with tachycardia include heart failure, blood clots, frequent fainting or sudden death, MayoClinic.com warns. Consult your doctor if you experience heart-related side effects while taking forskolin.

Increased Stomach Acid Levels

Forskolin may increase the amount of acid in your stomach. This may cause side effects of nausea, heartburn and indigestion. Such side effects are particularly dangerous for people with pre-existing gastrointestinal health issues, such as a stomach ulcer. Consequently, don't take this supplement if you have a stomach ulcer, the University of Michigan Health System advises.

Drug Interactions

Consult your medical provider about all medications you're taking before beginning treatment with forskolin. Concomitant use of forskolin and prescription blood-thinners may increase your risk of developing bleeding complications. Additionally, avoid taking forskolin in conjunction with antihypertensives, warns Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The combination of this supplement and antihypertensives may result in a significant decrease in your blood pressure.

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