Silymarin Side Effects

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Silymarin, also known as milk thistle, is an herbal supplement that is used in the treatment of a number of liver-related conditions. Use of this supplement may be associated with a variety of side effects depending on the size of the dose and the particular individual.


Silymarin is the flavonoid complex that is found within the milk thistle plant. Silymarin is composed of three chemical substances known as silychristin, silydianin and silybin. Silymarin is most frequently used to treat liver disease caused by alcohol damage, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis C and gallstones. Other uses of this product should be determined by your doctor.

Most Common Side Effects

Though many users have reported no adverse reactions to this product, the most common side effects that have been reported as a result of using Silymarin include upset stomach, nausea, mild headache, diarrhea, vomiting and joint pain. These side effects should be reported immediately to your doctor if any intensify or become persistent.

Severe Side Effects

In rare cases, users of Silymarin may experience the following side effects: severe stomach pain, unusual sweating and muscle weakness. Users may also suffer from severe allergic reaction to Silymarin, including skin irritation, rash, hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of the lips, face or throat. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these side effects occur.

Drug Interactions

Silymarin may interact with oral contraceptives and render them less effective. Since Silymarin may reduce blood sugar levels, individuals taking other medications that reduce blood sugar should use extreme caution. Always contact your doctor and discuss the compatibility of Silymarin with your current drug use in order to avoid any severe interactions and side effects.


Do not use Silymarin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Never alter the recommended dose of the supplement. Contact your doctor and discuss the dangers of using Silymarin before your first dose. Use with caution in children.

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