Why mixing herbal supplements and prescription drugs could be risky


New study highlights potentially dangerous interactions between herbal supplements and prescription drugs. Researchers looked at dozens of reports of serious drug interactions in patients with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and depression. They found that herbal supplements can affect the effectiveness of drugs or have side effects.

“For most Americans who are about to take their ginko biloba … they think it’s for improving their health. They think it’s natural, it must be safe. Tara Narula said on Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “But the point is, herbal supplements are pharmacologically active. They are biologically active. ”

They can change your blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol, for example, Narula said. Not only can supplements work for or against the disease you are treating, but they can also impact your metabolism and change the amount of medicine in your system, she explained.

“To give you an example, if you are a heart patient and you take a blood thinner like coumadin then you are taking a specific herbal supplement, which might increase or decrease the levels of coumadin in your system, which means you might be more likely to bleed or you might be more likely to clot, “Narula said.” If you take a statin, you might be more likely to have muscle pain. If you are a cancer patient on chemotherapy, the chemotherapy may not be as effective. If you take antidepressants it can make you more depressed. ”

More than half of Americans say they take dietary and herbal supplements, including gingko biloba, ginseng or St. John’s Wort. Up to one in four adults report taking supplements and prescription drugs at the same time. Many don’t ask their doctors if it’s safe, which is a big deal, Narula said.

“90% of the people I ask, they tell me they take some form of supplement. But that’s only when I ask,” Narula said. “Whether it’s because they think it’s not important or they don’t want the doctor to tell them not to take it, I’m not sure. But the reality is, it’s important because that you need this open dialogue to discuss the pros and cons. “

She said there is no data or science to support the health benefits of herbal supplements.

“In this country we are not educated in the medical profession about it. But there is no doubt that there are probably benefits, but you have to weigh them against the risks,” Narula said.

Source link


Comments are closed.