What is alpha-lipoic acid?

Alpha-lipoic acid is a naturally occurring fatty acid that can be found in many foods such as yeast, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, and organ meats such as liver or kidney.

Alpha-lipoic acid has been used as a nutritional supplement and antioxidant.

Not all uses for alpha-lipoic acid have been approved by the FDA. Alpha-lipoic acid should not be substituted for medications prescribed for you by your doctor.

Alpha-lipoic acid is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Alpha-lipoic acid may also be used for other purposes not listed in this product guide.


Talk with a doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or other healthcare provider before using alpha-lipoic acid if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • diabetes;
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia); or
  • a thyroid disorder.

It is not known whether alpha-lipoic acid is harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use this product without talking to a healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Alpha-lipoic acid may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Ask your healthcare provider before using alpha-lipoic acid if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without the advice of a doctor.

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while you are using alpha-lipoic acid.

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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this product.

Consult your doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or other healthcare provider for instructions if you miss a dose.

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Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or other healthcare provider if you have any of these signs of low blood sugar while taking alpha-lipoic acid:

  • hunger, weakness, nausea, irritability, tremors;
  • drowsiness, dizziness, headache, blurred vision;
  • confusion, trouble concentrating;
  • sweating, fast heart rate; or
  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • upset stomach;
  • numbness or tingly feeling;
  • dizziness, tired feeling;
  • headache, muscle cramps; or
  • mild skin rash.

Tell your doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or other healthcare provider about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Do not take alpha-lipoic acid without the advice of a healthcare provider if you are using any of the following medications:

  • levothyroxine (Synthroid) and other thyroid medications; or
  • insulin or diabetes medications you take by mouth such as metformin (Glucophage), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase), and others.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with alpha-lipoic acid. Tell your healthcare provider about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your healthcare provider.

Other Names

Alpha-Lipoic Acid, alpha-lipoic acid, Alpha Lipoic, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Alpha-Lipoic-Acid-300, and thioctic acid

Available Strengths & Dosages

Route Form Strength
oral tablet 50 mg
oral tablet 100 mg

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Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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