Health Guide


What is it?

Lysine is an essential amino acid. It is used as a supplement for herpes simplex (cold sores and genital herpes) and kidney stones. Lysine is also used for migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis pain, bodybuilding, and osteoporosis prevention.

Other names for Lysine include: L-Lysine.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you ...

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Lysine you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Lysine. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Lysine without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Antibiotic medicine (examples: gentamicin (Garamycin(R)), neomycin, tobramycin (Tobrex(R)), streptomycin)


  • Before taking Lysine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not take Lysine if you have liver or kidney disease (8)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your chest or throat
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Kidney problems (7)


1. Werbach MR & Murray MT: Botanical influences on Illness: a sourcebook of clinical research. Third Line Press, Tarzana, CA; 1994.

2. McCune, Perry HO, Muller SA et al. Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex with L-Lysine Monohydrochloride. Cutis 1984; 34:366.

3. Milman N, Scheibel J & Jessen O: Lysine prophyaxis in recurrent herpes simplex labialis: a double-blind crossover study. Acta Dermantovener 1980; 60:85-87.

4. Griffith RS, Norins AL & Kagan C: A multi-centered study of lysine therapy in herpes simplex infection. Dermatologica 1978; 156:257-267.

5. Flodin NW: The metabolic roles, pharmacology, and toxicology of Lysine. J Am Coll Nutr 1997; 16(1):7-21.

6. Civitelli R, Villareal DT, Agnusdei D et al: Dietary l-lysine and calcium metabolism in humans.Nutrition 1992; 8(6):400-405.

7. Lo JC, Chertow GM, Rennke H et al: Fanconi's syndrome and tubulointerstitial nephritis in association with L-lysine ingestion. Am J Kidney Dis 1996; 28(4):614-617.

8. Malis CD, Racusen LC, Solez K et al: Nephrotoxicity of lysine and of a single dose of aminoglycoside in rats given lysine. J Lab Clin Med 1984; 103(5):660-676.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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