Gossypol. What is it?

Gossypol is an herbal medicine used to treat cancer and a female problem called endometriosis. It may also be used by women and men to prevent pregnancy.

Endometriosis is a medical problem. This occurs when the uterus lining which is called the endometrium grows in places where it should not. See this website to understand what signs a woman suffering from endometriosis will show. The uterus lining starts to grow on the ovaries, fallopian tube or along the area of the pelvis. When this lining breaks, similar to the uterus lining, there is nowhere that it can go.

Other names for Gossypol include: Gossypium hirsutum and Cottonseed oil.

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 other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage: There are many doses for this medicine. The most common doses for Gossypol are listed below. Ask your doctor if your health problem is not on the list or if the dose is not given for a product you want to use.

* Cancer (adrenal), tablet: 40 to 60 milligrams daily, by mouth (1)
* Cancer (glioma), tablet: Racemic Gossypol 10 milligrams twice daily, by mouth (2)
* Female birth control, gel: put application of a Gossypol acetic acid gel 0.5 milligram/milliliter into vagina before having sex (3)
* Male birth control, tablet: 10 to 20 milligrams (mg) daily for 75 to 180 days or until adequate reduction in sperm count is reached, followed by 35 to 65 mg weekly, by mouth (4-8)

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 Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need.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 Gossypol without talking to your doctor if you are taking:

* Chloroquine (9)
* Digoxin (1,7,10-12)
* Diuretic (1,7,11)
* Ethanol (13-15)
* Iron (16)
* Isoproterenol (10,17,18)
* Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (1,19,20)
* Potassium (7,11,12)


* Do not take Gossypol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

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 throat or chest
* Chest pain
* Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin
* Severe tiredness (21)
* Muscle weakness or paralysis (21)
* Dry mouth or skin, nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up), hair loss, bowel problems (1)

1. Flack MR, Pyle RG, Sullen NM et al: Oral gossypol in the treatment of metastatic adrenal cancer. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1993; 76:1019-1024.
2. Bushunow P, Reidenberg NM, Wasenko J et al: Gossypol treatment of recurrent adult malignant gliomas. J Neuro-Oncology 1999; 43(1):79-86.
3. Ratsula K, Haukkamaa M, Wichmann K et al: Vaginal contraception with gossypol: a clinical study. Contraception 1983; 27(6):571-576.
4. Coutinho EM, Athayde C, Atta G et al: Gossypol blood levels and inhibition of spermatogenesis in men taking gossypol as a contraceptive. A multicenter, international, dose-finding study. Contraception 2000; 61(1): 61-67.
5. Gu ZP, Mao BY, Wang YX et al: Low dose gossypol for male contraception. Asian J Androl 2000; 2(4):283-287.
6. Coutinho EM & Melo JF: Clinical experience with gossypol in non-Chinese men: a follow-up. Contraception 1988; 37(2):137-151.
7. Liu GZ, Lyle KC & Cao J: Clinical trial of gossypol as a male contraceptive drug. Part I. Efficacy study. Fertil Steril 1987; 48(3):459-461.
8. Liu GZ, Lyle K & Cao J: Experiences with gossypol as a male pill. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1987a; 157(4 pt 2):1079-1082.
9. Nwoha PU & Aire TA: The effects of gossypol and chloroquine interaction on serum electrolytes of protein-malnourished rats. Contraception 1995a; 52(4):255-259.
10. Ye YX, Akera T & Ng YC: Modification of the positive inotropic effects of catecholamines, cardiac glycosides and Ca2+ by the orally active male contraceptive, gossypol, in isolated guinea pig heart. Life Sci 1989; 45(20): 1853-1861.
11. Liu GZ, Ch’iu-Hinton K, Cao J et al: Effects of potassium salt or a potassium blocker on gossypol-related hypokalemia. Contraception 1988; 37(2):111-117.
12. Shaozhen A, Guangwei J, Xiaoyun W et al: Gossypol related hypokalemia: clinicopharmacologic studies. Chin Med J 1980; 93:477-482.
13. Akingbemi BT, Rao PV & Aire TA: Chronic ethanol intake may delay the onset of gossypol-induced infertility in the male rat. Andrologia 1997; 29(4):201-207.
14. Messiha FS: Effect of gossypol on kinetics of mouse liver alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase. Gen Pharmac 1991; 22(4):573-576.
15. Messiha FS: Behavioral and metabolic interaction between gossypol and ethanol. Toxicol Lett 1991a; 57(2):175-181.
16. Herman DL & Smith FH: Effect of bound gossypol on the absorption of iron by rats. J Nutr 1973; 103(6):882-889.
17. Wu DF, Yu YW, Tang ZM et al: Pharmacokinetics of (+/-)-,(+)-, and (-)-gossypol in humans and dogs. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1986; 39(6):613-618.
18. Ye YX, Akera T & Ng YC: Direct actions of gossypol on cardiac muscle. Eur J Pharmacol 1987; 136(1):55-62.
19.Wagner H, Hikino H & Farnsworth NR (eds): Economic and Medicinal Plant Research. Academic Press, London, England; 1985.
20. DeSmet PAGM, Keller K, Hansel R et al (eds): Adverse Effects of Herbal Drugs 2. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany; 1993:195-208.
21. Wooley RJ: Contraception-a look forward, part II: Mifepristone and gossypol. Contraception 1991; 4:103-113.