Q. Periodic bouts with irritable bowel syndrome cause me painful cramping and gas. My doctor prescribes Donnatal, but it makes me drowsy.
I have read that peppermint oil would help. Could you give me any information on it? Does it interact with other medicines? I take Buspar for anxiety, Tegretol for neuropathy and atenolol for blood pressure.
A. Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are designed to dissolve in the small intestine, rather than in the stomach where peppermint could cause heartburn. Preliminary studies suggest that this herbal medicine may relieve some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as abdominal pain, bloating and gas. This product can often be found in health food stores.
Your concern about interactions may be justified. New research (Clin Pharmacol Ther, Sept 2002) shows that peppermint oil may interact much as grapefruit does, increasing blood levels of medications such as Plendil. Two of your medications, Buspar and Tegretol, are affected by grapefruit and might interact with peppermint.