Wednesday 23 January 2019

New study warns it's vital to tell your doctor if you're taking herbal remedies with prescription drugs - even green tea

Green tea
Green tea
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

It's vital to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking herbal remedies along with prescription drugs.

A new review has again highlighted the dangers of mixing both.

The study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology looked at 49 reports of possible adverse reactions.

It found that 59pc were probably caused by interactions between prescription drugs and herbal remedies.

They also found two studies showing an additional 15 cases of drug-herb reactions.

Herbal remedies can affect the way drugs act on the body, either blocking their action or increasing their potency.

Problems reported in the review included liver and kidney damage, bleeding, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, mental health problems, seizures and muscle pain.

Many combinations of drugs and herbal remedies caused interactions, but the most commonly mentioned drugs were warfarin and statins.

Just because a substance is described as a herb, that doesn't mean it's harmless or safe for everyone to use.

Some people are embarrassed to admit they're taking herbal remedies.

Herbal remedies included ginkgo biloba, St John's wort, ginseng, sage, flaxseed, cranberry, goji juice, green tea, chamomile and turmeric.

The most common illness among patients who experienced a drug-herb interaction was cardiovascular disease.

In these patients, interactions affecting warfarin or statins were most common.

Herbs that interacted with these drugs included sage, flaxseed, St John's wort, cranberry, goji juice, green tea and chamomile.

Other conditions affected included cancer, kidney transplants, depression, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

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