Ayahuasca & Prescription Medicine Contraindications for Safe Journeying

Ayahuasca, a plant medicine with powerful transformative potential, is popular for its ability to facilitate deep healing and spiritual exploration. However, it is important to understand that Ayahuasca is for everyone, especially individuals who are taking certain medications. In this article, we will examine the significance of prescription medicine and drug contraindications that may prevent someone from safely participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony.

Ayahuasca and Its Components

Ayahuasca is a brew traditionally prepared from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Psychotria viridis leaves. It contains the active compound dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which induces the psychedelic and introspective effects. Additionally, the Banisteriopsis caapi vine contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are crucial for the DMT to be orally active.

Ayahuasca Contraindications

  1. Stimulants and Amphetamines: Stimulant medications such as those prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and recreational drugs like amphetamines can potentially interact with Ayahuasca. Combining these substances can increase cardiovascular activity, potentially leading to an unsafe rise in heart rate and blood pressure.
  2. Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): SNRIs & SSRIs are commonly prescribed antidepressants that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Combining these medications with Ayahuasca, which also affects serotonin levels, can lead to a potentially dangerous condition known as serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome can cause symptoms such as confusion, agitation, high blood pressure, tremors, rapid heart rate, and also possibly seizures.
  3. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): Ayahuasca contains MAOIs. Taking Ayahuasca while on prescription MAOIs or certain foods containing tyramine (found in aged cheeses, cured meats, fermented foods, and some fruits) can result in a dangerous rise in blood pressure. This can lead to severe health complications, including stroke.
  4. Antipsychotic Medications: Antipsychotic medications are commonly prescribed to individuals with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Combining Ayahuasca with these medications can potentially interact and lead to unpredictable effects on mental state, exacerbation of symptoms, or adverse reactions. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before considering Ayahuasca if you are taking antipsychotic medications.
  5. Other Medications and Health Conditions: There may be other medications or health conditions that could pose contraindications for Ayahuasca consumption. It is crucial to disclose your complete medical history, including any medications, supplements, or existing health conditions, to an experienced Ayahuasca facilitator or healthcare professional. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation.

Seeking Professional Advice

If you want to participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony and are currently taking prescription medications, it is vital to consult with both your healthcare provider and an experienced Ayahuasca facilitator. These professionals can assess the potential contraindications and guide you on the appropriate steps to ensure your safety and well-being.


While Ayahuasca can be powerful for healing and self-exploration, it is critical to understand and respect the potential contraindications with prescription medications. The interactions between Ayahuasca and certain drugs can lead to adverse effects. Open communication with healthcare professionals and Ayahuasca facilitators is crucial to ensure your safety. Always prioritize your health and well-being when considering any form of medicine or spiritual practice.