Health Guide


What is it?

Papain is an herbal medicine used to treat burns and to help treat cancer.

Other names for papain include: papaya extract.

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
  • have had blood clots or problems with blood clotting


Talk with your caregiver about how much papain you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking papain. 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 Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need.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 papain without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Medicines used to prevent blood clots or to treat pain and fever (examples: warfarin (Coumadin(R)); anisindione (Miradon(R)); aspirin (Alka-Seltzer(R), Anacin(R), Aspergum(R), Bayer(R), Bufferin(R), Ecotrin(R), Zorprin(R))) (4,5)
  • Medicines to treat gout and to treat certain blood diseases (examples: sulfinpyrazone (Anturane(R))) (4)
  • Silver-containing topical medicines (examples: silver nitrate; silver sulfadiazine) (7)
  • Topical medicine (examples: hydrogen peroxide) (7)
  • Topical food preparation (example: potato) (8)


  • Before taking papain, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Skin irritation may occur if there is contact with papaya latex (3)

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash

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.

  • Asthma (2)
  • Skin irritation (rash, redness, itching) (1)


1. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A et al (eds): The Complete German Commission E Monographs, 1st ed. American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.

2. Blanco C, Ortega N, Castillo R et al: Carica papaya pollen allergy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1998; 81(2):171-175.

3. Anon: Papaya. In: DerMarderosian A (ed): The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, MO; 2000.

4. Shaw D, Leon C, Kolev S et al: Traditional remedies and food supplements: a 5-year toxicological study. Drug Saf 1997; 17(5):342-356.

5. Shulman A: Toxicological problems of traditional remedies and food supplements. Int J Alt Compl Med (Jan.) 1997: 9-10.

6. Valueva TA, Revina TA & Mosolov VV: Potato tuber protein proteinase inhibitors belonging to the Kunitz soybean inhibitor family. Biochemistry (Mosc) 1997; 62(12):1367-1374.

7. Product Information: Accuzyme(R) spray, papain, urea. Healthpoint, Fort Worth, TX, 2004.

8. Valueva TA, Revina TA & Mosolov VV: Potato tuber protein proteinase inhibitors belonging to the Kunitz soybean inhibitor family. Biochemistry (Mosc) 1997; 62(12):1367-1374.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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