310333 tn?1193163126

Evening Primrose Oil causing Depression?

Hi, I'm a 16 year old girl, and often in the mornings I felt unwell, which my mother decided was due to a hormone imbalance, so she gave me oil of evening primrose, which I took. About  week ago, I started to become very depressed - I have had mood swings before, and am prone to quite low lows, if that makes sense? However, it was much worse this time, and I had random crying fits, wanting to hide away, and very low self esteem. Sometimes I felt better again, but a simple, trivial comment fom my father like "no, cut the potatoes a bit bigger" would set me off again back into my depression, feeling like I was hopeless and couldn't cope, an could never achieve anything in my life.
I am not the sort of person who can really talk to my parents, i find it very difficult, as I do not get on very well with my mother a lot of the time, who just gets irritated if I am not my "normal, happy self" and struggle to expres my feelings even to my dad, who I am much closer to. [Both of my parents dismiss anything negative, such as concerns about my appearence, as "normal teenage stuff", but I feel I have it wose than I should.]
Friends as well are out of the question, as I do not really have anyone I trust and who I feel cares about me enough to listen [another thing which worsenes my depression, and vice versa.] So, my question is, is this connected to the oil of evening primrose supplement or my menstual cycle in general? Stupid question I know, but I have never felt like this before, wanting to just disappear and wishing my life would just end [although i would not do that to my family].
I started to improve over the last couple of days, and today I got my period, which has been the worst it's ever been, with awful back pain and nausea; is this also connected, and does this mean anything?

Apologies for the long post, and thank you to all who took the time to read it.
27 Responses
387767 tn?1345872027
Hi dear.  It's possible that your symptoms have to do with PMS, however, it does seem like they are extreme.  Any thoughts of *wishing life would end* is a serious problem.  I know you said you can't talk to your parents about this, but is there a friend or some other adult, like a teacher or counselor, that you can talk to?

I have a son who is 21 now, and he started suffering from depression and anxiety from the age of 12 on.  He has been on and off medications his whole life, however, he's in college and has done very well despite these problems.  He also has ADHD.  I don't know if you have that, but you should probably see a psychiatrist for an evaluation.  Is there any way you can do this?
585414 tn?1288941302
I strongly agree about seeing a psychiatrist but stop the evening primose oil. Its an unknown natural remedy and it could be giving you moodswings as it does have an effect in this regard. Sometimes natural remedies that are good on depression can make a person manic. Regardless natural remedies should be approached with caution and only under the care of a doctor. I am on some natural remedies but they are in government study and they understand how they work. As for the other condition speak to a doctor about it and perhaps they can see if something is wrong as well. Its not that natural remedies are wrong. Its just that you have to have an exact diagnosis, physical and mental and then whatever is taken should be under a doctor's care and there are certain natural remedies that knowledgable physicians will use with specific brands and doses for many conditions. The problem is they are unregulated so they are an unknown quantity.
Avatar universal
I had the same results with taking Primrose Oil supplements.  I was fine and I started taking Primrose Oil and after about a week and the depression hit me hard.  I have been horribly depressed for over a week.  I stopped taking it two days ago and my depression is half of what it was before stopping.  I am menopausal for 10 years. I was puzzled how this deep depression came about.  I was researching the negative side effects of Primrose Oil and I came across your post.  Possibly there are a few people who have this reaction to Primrose Oil. I am stopping completely to see if my depression goes away.  Yes, you may be having hormonal reactions, but it seems quite the coincidence that you and I are having the same results after taking the oil.  I just noticed your post was from last year.  Could you please let me know if you stopped the P. Oil and how you are doing now.
1427781 tn?1282964802
I, too, began wondering about Evening Primrose Oil. I've had the worst depression in years since I began taking it. I stopped taking it night before last and I'm already beginning to come out of it. I'm 12 yrs post menopausal, have mild bi-polar issues, and take an anti-depressant that was overwhelmed by this incident. Wow, it helps to know there are others out there.
Avatar universal
Wow..sorry to see that you have suffered but what a relief to see all these posts with the same reactions to Evening Primrose. I had the most horrific reaction to it, within a few days of taking it I honestly felt like I wanted to end it all. Shouldn't there be some kind of warning on this supplement ?

I have found a good diet, plenty of fluids and sleep has made me feel so much better.
Avatar universal
I also have found that after taking evening Primrose oil for even just a day, I felt very depressed. This has happened twice, once when I was pregnant and was told that it was beneficial for getting ready for birth; I am a strong supporter of herbal/natural remedies, but at the time, felt suddenly depressed. I stopped taking it, and the depression went away quickly.  I told my midwife, who was surprised, she said that she had never heard of it and maybe it was a coincidence.  I wasn't going to test it again...until recently I was thinking it could be good for me and kind of wasn't sure if maybe it had been a coincidence, but same thing this time!!  I also felt this happen after taking fish oil.  I think that somewhere online I saw some mention of deficiency in Vitamin E?  that could make some people not ber able to absorb Fish oil correctly (the body needs E to synthesize something) maybe that is true of Primrose oil too?
Good luck! :)
Avatar universal
I am very glad I found this forum, as i have just had no luck finding anywhere else on line people discussing the negative effects of Primrose Oil.

I too noticed I started to get very gloomy and down within a week of taking it.
I didn't feel depressed before i started to take it, I merely thought it was a good idea to start taking it as i read it's very good for the overall health and well being of women.

I couldn't believe when my period came i had the worst pmt i'd had for years, and figured it can't be a coincidence that i'd started taking the Primose a few weeks before.

I've now stopped taking it, and am taking a vitamin b complex instead and vitamin e and multi vit.

I wish there was more honest literature online about the negative effects of Primrose!! I've been so down I've not understood why, now i feel happier i can cut out what i believe was causing it.

Avatar universal
I am also glad that I found this forum. I have been very depressed after taking Evening prim rose for 2 weeks. I thought it would help my pms but the evening prime rose made it so much worst.  I have since stopped taking it but I'm still really depressed (I guess it hasn't left my system yet...I took a lot of it).  

I'm so relieved to know that my depression will be over soon!  I wasn't sure where it was coming from (I just realized that the evening prime rose was causing my depression while I was searching for natural remedies for depression...I found this forum in the process).
Avatar universal
Well I'm really glad too to have found these answers because I started taking evening primrose to help calm my horrible pmt only to find that instead of having the symptoms once a month that I feel like I have them every day.  I forgot to take the tablets for a few days and today felt the happiest I have in ages but took a pill when I got home and by this evening was moody, tearful and hugely negative.  I'm going to stop for the weekend and see what happens.
Avatar universal
I am so glad I found this forum, I thought I was going crazy. I am two years menopausal. In taking primrosed oil within four day I started feeling heavily depressed. After I got my period I stopped for a month. Started up again last month same thing happened within a couple of days. My doctor said don't take it during my period. Started again two weeks before my period same heavy weepy depression. Decided to see if there was a possibility that other felt this way and found this forum. It has the opposite effec and caused more intense pms symtoms.
Avatar universal
I have generalized anxiety disorder and haven't had an attack for close to three months. I started taking EPO less than a week ago and am experiencing anxiety symptoms which are just toooo familiar. I googled abt EPO and all I read are good things and many people claimed it worked for their panic attacks! Not for me I'm sure!! I took a while to stabilize my anxiety condition and now feel so stupid for taking EPO (supposedly for good skin) without doing thorough research first!!  I'm gonna get off it and see how it goes.
Avatar universal
I've been taking 3000mgs a day for 8 weeks and have felt so depressed. Nobody warned me of this. It was prescribed to me by a doctor who did not warn me of this. Hope your ok now though.
Avatar universal
I have been felling anxious, depressed and irrational for the past few weeks and I couldn't understand out of the blue where this mind set came from. I started to think back to when it started and realized it was around the time I started taking the evening primrose oil. I did not take one yesterday and I am not going to take them again to see if that is the problem. I did a google search and this is the only information I could find on side effects.
Avatar universal
Yes yes, for me too....I am 52 and I took it for my hair and skin and I got very depressed even 500 mg making me very depressed same as fish oil and conjucated linoleic acid (CLA) which is good for loosing weight and flax seed oil....I think all this oil is kind of estrogenic and make us feel depressed
Avatar universal
I am only taking 1,000 mg every other day; it is blended with 27 IU of Vitamin E to assist with absorption (as mentioned by someone earlier). I take no other medications and it has had a similar anxiety effect on me. It magnifies my frustration by making me feel a little more dopey than usual so I can't manage the very complicated mental tasks of my life (law & finance). I also experienced "deviant thoughts", kinda like nightmare worries (not the same as depression, more like mania). I'm not the devient thought type, so it was very disturbing (perhaps too much TV before bed?).

I took it because I have adult acne and was trying everything for interviews. I remember not liking it when I was a teenager (my aunt gave me some for my menstrual cycle). It's only been a little over a week and I've not seen an improvement in my skin.
Avatar universal
Been taking EVP 2000mg daily for 2 weeks and it has had horrible side effects for me, bad acne breakout, headaches, depression and general aches and pains.  Not to mention itchy skin and rashes, it doesn't work for everyone and as of today I am coming off it and hope my awful issues subside.
Will keep you all informed.
Avatar universal
so glad to know that there may be a cause for my brain fog,extreme anxiety and depression...i have been taking EPO for about 5 months to help w cervical stenosis following a leep procedure.The EPO did help my menstrual issues some, but apparently have worsened my anxiety, depression and OCD, along w causing terrible brain fog...it makes me feel a little better to know there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. i will no longer be taking this supplement....from the other little bits of info i have a found about negative side effects, i am gathering it may affect progesterone levels...i just wish  i would have known before i started taking it:(
Avatar universal
I feel like you have just written my story. I'm 19 and am in the same situation that you were. I don't get along with my mother and I can't talk to my father either, nor do I have any real friends. I took 1000mg of EPO for around three weeks for my acne. At first I noticed the hormonal acne on my chin and jawline clear up. But its effect kind of fluctuated and I was about 80% clear. BUT on the third week, I began to experience a serious side effect that I was unaware of. I began to cry a lot for no apparent reason and ended up in a deep depression with suicidal thoughts. This lasted for days. On the fourth day I took 3000mg  that day to help with my menstrual cycle acne and an hour later I couldn't stop crying. I woke up the next morning and cried the whole day. Things had gotten so bad that I was considering checking myself into a mental hospital!!!  I have had a mild depression in the past and I also suffer from OCD but I haven't had a terrible depression or "anxiety fit" like this one in over a year since I've been controlling it. I am not currently on anti-depressants either. Maybe my past history made me more susceptible to this side effect. Maybe it only affects people who have already low serotonin levels.
I am no scientist but it seems that EPO could possibly lower serotonin levels, interact with serotonin or block its effect (or it could do that to another "happy" hormone).  Upon stopping EPO, I've noticed that my depression isn't as bad, the crying has stopped and I am recovering. I am very angry that there was no warning as to this side effect  It seems that the side effects of EPO are similar to the side effects of Accutane. I wrote this review in the hope that others won't be fooled.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone hope everyone is now OK . I've been on epo for 3 months or maybe less but I'm not continuing with it. Heres my story.....
About 3years ago I was put on dianette for acne.....erm
Avatar universal
yes, Primrose oil did the same for me. I thought it was harmless for "hormone balance" but i noticed i was crying for no reason for 2 days after taking it, and i remember being unusually depressed after taking it a second time. My suggestion would be to get more vitamin D which has helped with my mood, vitamin B complex, and learn how to make homemade Kefir rich in probiotics to help remove toxins in your body that make you feel negative. Pray for your parents to see them in a different light. I understand how frusturating parents can be. Maybe try writing a note to your mom for any simple thing she does that is helpful and appreciated. There is never such a thing as a perfect family or perfect parents. They drive everyone nuts at some point in our lives. Aromatherapuetic orange and peppermint oils are uplifting in an ionic diffuser and daily light exercise has also proved helpful for me. Avoid flouridated tap water in cooking and drink at all costs.Try to invest in a shower filter too if you can that removes both flouride and chlorine which toxify the body. Best of luck to you. Prayers and love and may Heaven's guardian angels continue to watch over and protect you.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone! I know this is an old thread but was wondering how everyone was doing now? I am currently having this problem and it's been a NIGHTMARE! I'm on an antidepressant and anti anxiety medication. My mood has been fantastic until I started taking EPO for my skin and now I feel so depressed I can barely function! It hit out of NOWHERE! I haven't taken it for a couple days and am starting to feel a little better but was wondering how long it took for others to be back to normal after they stopped taking it. Thanks guys!
Avatar universal
WOW, I am so not alone.  I have been taking EPO for only two weeks and feel worse than ever.
I have just gone 12 months without a period, so now am officially MENOPAUSAL.
My feelings of anxiety, depression, crying have been discussed with my GP who sent me off for blood tests. Hormone levels were questionable, so I have been on DHEA Keto 7 which has been fabulous. I just thought EPO could just give everything a little boost. This was definitely not so. I will stop taking EPO straight away. Hopefully many other women are helped with the forum. Good luck ladies, keep healthy and in good spirits x
Avatar universal
I am writing this having got up today feeling sick and dizzy and then crying and shouting at my long suffering husband.  I remember having a bad reaction taking EPO when I was around 17 when my mother recommended it.  Nevertheless I was encouraged by female doctor to go on EPO to manage peri menopausal symptoms.   I have had two goes over the last 6 months - both resulting in serious side effects after 2 or 3 days.  Same symptoms - sick / dizzy/ crying / depression.  So thanks to this forum for sharing this as I know feel I am not going mad - it's hard enough going through menopause without something like this adding to it!
I read up on some research papers that up to 20% of women - particularly in their 40/50s - suffer adverse reaction to EPO - I just can't believe that something that can cause these symptoms in so many people can be so easily obtained -and so widely advised - without a major side effect warned on the face of the bottle.  Cheers all for sharing
i never experience a series of depression before in my life. but after taking Evening Primrose Oil. i felt miserable. and cried for no reason. :(  
The odd thing is that for many EPO works great as an antidepressant.  For me, it didn't help any.  But as for a warning on the bottle, first, there isn't actually any data on how many people take this product, let alone how many suffer an adverse reaction.  Second, it is a great source for an essential fatty acid that isn't that easy to find, though you can get more with borage oil and about the same with black current seed oil.  Third, it is very effective for some women with hormonal problems.  My wife takes a blend of oils that has it in it and has no problem with it, and in 18 years of managing health foods stores some years ago I never had one customer who reported any adverse reactions to it.  The lesson here is, anyone can have a bad reaction to anything -- most people are completely unaware that the most problematic things anyone consumes is wheat and dairy products.  So the other lesson is, if you don't know much about natural medicine, do your homework before using anything, and the good thing about it is the bad effects go away when you stop taking the product, something that does not occur with most medications.  Medicine in all its forms is not an exact science, and is largely trial and error, but no bottle of anything has enough room on it to put all the warnings.  It is also important to realize that whenever anyone tried to balance their hormones no matter how they do it there is likely to be a period of time to get used to the change and see if it is going to work on not work.  Lastly, when you take a supplement, make sure it's of high quality -- some of these may be combinations and most are sold by direct marketing and internet sales companies that have no idea what they're doing.  I'm not encouraging anyone to take EPO -- I have no horse in that race -- but also don't like to frighten people away from something that might help.  Have you ever seen how many adverse reactions your medications have?  Ever seen it on the bottle?  You have to dig deeper, folks.  
I too had a negative reaction to using primrose oil, on two different occasions I found myself incredibly depressed and without any motivation after taking it a short time, strangely that also happened to me after taking fish oil.
I saw some connection made to the fact that vitamin E is required to absorb or for the body to assimilate these oils? And that coincidentally low vitamin E is linked to depression, is it possible that I or others could have lower levels of vitamin E that get used up with these oils and cause depression feelings. Then perhaps some vitamin E supplementation would help....btw must be careful not to overdue oil based vitamins so check carefully when taking to do correct dose
I know of no such interaction with essential fatty acids.  Remember, these oils are necessary for human health as much as Vitamin E is.  I don't know of Vitamin E being all that important for mental health, though of course a deficiency in any necessary nutrient can produce a lot of complex interactions in the body.  But these are things that show up on tests, so it's something that could be tested.  But there is a problem in people taking too much of a fat supplement.  Fish oil has shown good results in those suffering mental illness and it contains a hard to find food source of DHA, a necessary nutrient for brain health.  The EPO I think is more anecdotal, as most of the time it's being used for balancing hormones.  If you just wanted the GLA in it, you'd be better off taking black current or borage oil because there's more of it in those.  But know that most fish oil products out there aren't very good and are highly contaminated -- if you don't use clean fish, you have a dirty supplement.  As for Vitamin E, anyone who does supplement with it must get the mixed tocopherols, not just the D-alpha, and preferably tocotrienols as well.    
Avatar universal
I know this thread is old but just wanted to respond for anyone else who's dealt with this. I'm sensitive to medications and have even had bad reactions to supplements. The Evening Primrose Oil gave me one of the worst reactions I've ever had. The anxiety kicked in slowly and gradually so I attributed it to my period, etc. After two and a half months, they got to the point where I was almost constantly feeling anxiety and would be up until 6 AM with a pounding heart. This began to morph into depression. It finally dawned on me that these symptoms all started after I began taking evening primrose oil.

I went to the doctor after about a week of not sleeping. He affirmed that one of the rare side effects of evening primrose oil can be anxiety. I'd already been off the stuff for three or four days. He told me the evening primrose was out of my system but I could experience anxiety symptoms for the next week or two because my hormones were returning to normal. I'm currently on a prescription medication to help me sleep until it goes away...which I hope it does.

Hope this helps someone. In response to guitar babe, evening primrose oil can definitely cause those symptoms. I guess we are some of the lucky few that respond to it that way.
I got more anxiety from taking it, too.  But it went away as soon as I stopped the supplement, so not sure you really need those sleeping pills -- don't get too used to them.
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