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Arginine (essential amino acid, dietary supplement)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Jul 28, 2021

Arginine (L-arginine) is an amino acid. As an essential amino acid, it is required to be taken in through food or supplements. This is because the body does not naturally synthesize arginine. Arginine plays an important role in the urea cycle. It allows for the metabolism and clearance of ammonia from the body.


What is Arginine used for?

  • Evaluation of pituitary growth hormone reserve
  • Angina
  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Peripheral artery disease

How should I take Arginine?

Read the directions on the packaging for complete information. Check the label and expiration date.

For parenteral dosage forms, only a licensed healthcare professional should administer it.

How do I store Arginine?

Store this product at controlled room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. 

There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. So, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & Warnings

What should I know before using Arginine?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, it is likely safe to take. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

Side Effects

What side effects can occur when using Arginine?

Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gout
  • Headache
  • Allergic reaction
  • Asthma exacerbation

However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Arginine?

This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. 

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. 

Drugs with known interactions:

  • Aminophylline
  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiplatelet drugs
  • Antihypertensive agents
  • Antidiabetic agents
  • Diuretics
  • Nitrates
  • Sildenafil
  • Spironolactone *potentially fatal

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Approaches include dose adjustment, drug substitution, or ending therapy.

Does food or alcohol interact with Arginine?

This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Avoid consuming alcohol while taking this supplement. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Arginine?

This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Renal impairment


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

What is the dose for an adult?

Diagnostic aid for pituitary growth hormone reserve

Administer 30 g as a single dose via intravenous (IV) injection.


Administer a loading dose of 600 mg/kg followed by a continuous IV infusion of 600 mg/kg per day.

What is the dose for a child?


Same as the adult dose.

Urea cycle disorders

Give 3.8 g per m^2 of body surface area per day in 3 to 4 divided doses.


Fatal overdose of arginine in pediatric patients has been reported. Exercise extreme caution when infusing arginine. Overdosing of arginine in children can also result in hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis or cerebral edema.

How is arginine available?

This drug is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Intravenous solution 10%

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Written by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


Updated Jul 28, 2021

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