Tags: herbal | diet | drug | interact

Drugs, Herbal Remedies Can Be Risky Combo

Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 11:41 AM


A growing number of Americans are taking herbal and dietary supplements to boost their health, but a new analysis underscores the need for patients who combine alternative medicines with conventional drugs to check with their doctors to be sure they don’t experience potentially harmful interactions.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, indicate it’s especially important for people on medication for central-nervous or cardiovascular system problems to alert their physicians of all treatments they are taking.
"Consumer use of [herbal and dietary supplements] has risen dramatically over the past two decades," said researcher Dr. Hsiang-Wen Lin from the College of Pharmacy, China Medical School, Taiwan.
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"In the USA, for example, it is estimated that more than 50 percent of patients with chronic diseases or cancer use them and that many patients take them at the same time as prescribed medication. Despite their widespread use, the potential risks associated with combining [alternative remedies] with other medications, which include mild-to-severe heart problems, chest pain, abdominal pain and headache, are poorly understood."
The new analysis examined 54 review articles and 31 original studies and found that the greatest problems were caused by interactions between prescribed drugs and such ingredients as St. John's Wort, magnesium, calcium, iron or ginkgo.
Other key findings:
• The studies examined 213 supplements and 509 drugs, with 882 interactions described in terms of their mechanisms and severity.
• Warfarin, insulin, aspirin, and ticlopidine had the greatest number of reported interactions with supplements.
• Some of the most frequent negative interactions involved the gastrointestinal system (16.4 percent), neurological system (14.5 percent), and andrenal/genitourinary diseases (12.5 percent).
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Patients who take drugs with dietary and herbal remedies should check with their doctors about potential interactions.
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2012-41-25
Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 11:41 AM
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