Addictive Potential: None
Emergency Room Visits Yearly: No recorded hospital visits
Mandatory Minimum Sentence: None
Mechanism of Action: Increases serotonin
5-Hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and an intermediate in tryptophan metabolism. It is marketed in the United States and other countries as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid. It can also be used to reduce the back-end, or hangover, after the use of MDMA.
Though there is no official dosage, most supplement providers recommend 50 mg or 100 mg 5-HTP, one to three times per day. Some suggest 5-HTP should be taken just before bed because it often causes drowsiness. In theory, an overdose could cause serotonin syndrome, although there are no reported cases of hospitalizations due to excessive ingestion of 5-HTP.
Promoters of 5-HTP claim that it causes fewer side effects than traditional antidepressants. Side effects of 5-HTP may include nausea, constipation, gas, drowsiness, or a decreased sex drive. It can also have adverse interactions with other natural and traditional drugs.