Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Jan 25

Herbal remedies like St John’s Wort can create dangerous clashes with cancer drugs and statins, warn experts

Patients taking drugs such as statins, antidepressants or undergoing cancer therapy should avoid herbal medicines because they can cause dangerous reactions, scientists have warned.

Many people supplement medicine with seemingly innocuous natural remedies such as St John’s Wort, ginkgo biloba or ginseng.

But analysis of drug trial databases by the South African Medical Research council found 28 per cent of people who reported taking a herbal treatment alongside medication had a worrying drug reaction.

Patients taking warfarin and statins for the management of cardiovascular complications reported clinically significant interactions after combination with herbal products including sage, flaxseed, St John’s Worst, cranberry, goji juice, green tea and chamomilla.

Potentially dangerous reactions were also seen in people taking herbal treatments alongside antidepressants and those cancer therapies.

Many people take herbal remedies alongside prescribed medication
The researchers also found that many patients lied about their use of herbal medicines to the doctors, leaving specialists in the dark about potential drug interactions.

“Intake of herbal medicines and prescribed medications is a common practice especially in patients with hypertension, diabetes, cancer, seizures and depression,” said lead author Dr Charles Awortwe.

“Assessment and subsequent mechanistic studies of herbs with clinically relevant herbal drug interactions must be publicized to alert both clinicians and patients about the need to avoid co-usage of certain herbal medicines with specific prescribed medications.”

Emeritus Professor Edzard Ernst, Britain’s first professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University said that doctors should make it clear to patients that they could not be taking herbal remedies alongside drugs.

Prof Ernst said there was no good evidence that they work and that doctors were ‘contributing to disinformation’ by turning a blind eye to the practice.

The research was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Source: Telegraph

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.