The Side Effects of Evening Primrose Tablets


Evening primrose oil or EPO has many health benefits and is used to lower cholesterol which decreases risk of heart disease. Usage also decreases the risk of blood clots and is utilized in treatment of premenstrual symptoms and to reduce breast pain. Evening primrose oil also has been used to decrease the symptoms of cystic breast disease and to treat skin conditions like eczema. Side effects are mild, if any and can include stomach problems and seizures for those already prone to seizures. Caplets are a common way for evening primrose oil to be ingested.

Stomach Problems

  • Nausea, stomach pain and indigestion as well as bloating and loose stools are occasionally the result of taking evening primrose oil caplets. Such side effects are generally due to taking too high a dose of evening primrose oil and lowering the dose will stop stomach issues. Try limiting the dosage to two to eight grams daily unless a health expert suggests dosage be increased.


  • According to the Medline Plus website, some research has shown that seizures can result from taking evening primrose oil. However, this effect generally occurs in those already prone to seizures; therefore those with seizure disorder should not take evening primrose oil. Seizures can also happen when taking evening primrose oil if taken in combination with anesthetics. People undergoing surgery with anesthesia should stop taking evening primrose oil at least two weeks before the procedure to prevent seizures from occurring. Those taking drugs to treat mental illness should also use caution when taking evening primrose oil caplets as the drugs can negatively interact with the caplets. It is not recommended that evening primrose oil caplets by taken by those with schizophrenia.

Additional Precautions/Side Effects

  • Those that are pregnant or nursing should avoid taking evening primrose oil caplets as there has not been enough research to determine if evening primrose oil passes to the baby from the mother's milk or while still in the womb. Headache is a possible side effect from taking evening primrose oil caplets. If you have a blood clotting or bleeding disorder, contact your health care professional before taking evening primrose oil to avoid any adverse side effects. Always follow dosage instructions on the bottle or by your health care professional to limit any negative side effects. It is not recommended that two different forms of evening primrose oil be taken at the same time without first speaking to a health care expert. Allergic reactions can sometimes occur and are characterized by hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of the face, tongue, throat or lips.

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  • Photo Credit primrose image by Studio Pookini from woman stomach image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from surgery image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from pregnancy image by Adam Borkowski from
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