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Am Fam Physician. 1999 Mar 1;59(5):1239-45.

Herbal remedies: adverse effects and drug interactions.

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1
Drug Information Center, West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, Morgantown 26506-9550, USA.

Abstract

A growing number of Americans are using herbal products for preventive and therapeutic purposes. The manufacturers of these products are not required to submit proof of safety and efficacy to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before marketing. For this reason, the adverse effects and drug interactions associated with herbal remedies are largely unknown. Ginkgo biloba extract, advertised as improving cognitive functioning, has been reported to cause spontaneous bleeding, and it may interact with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. St. John's wort, promoted as a treatment for depression, may have monoamine oxidase-inhibiting effects or may cause increased levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Although St. John's wort probably does not interact with foods that contain tyramine, it should not be used with prescription antidepressants. Ephedrine-containing herbal products have been associated with adverse cardiovascular events, seizures and even death. Ginseng, widely used for its purported physical and mental effects, is generally well tolerated, but it has been implicated as a cause of decreased response to warfarin. Physicians must be alert for adverse effects and drug interactions associated with herbal remedies, and they should ask all patients about the use of these products.

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PMID:
10088878
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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