The use of herbal medicines among pregnant women in Nigeria has not been widely studied.
Opinion of 595 pregnant women in three geopolitical zones in Nigeria on the use of herbal medicines, safety on usage, knowledge of potential effects of herbal remedies on the fetus and potential benefits or harms that may be derived from combining herbal remedies with conventional therapies were obtained using a structured questionnaire between September 2007 and March 2008. Descriptive statistics and Fisher's exact tests were used at 95% confidence level to evaluate the data obtained. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
More than two-third of respondents [67.5%] had used herbal medicines in crude forms or as pharmaceutical prepackaged dosage forms, with 74.3% preferring self-prepared formulations. Almost 30% who were using herbal medicine at the time of the study believed that the use of herbal medicines during pregnancy is safe. Respondents' reasons for taking herbal medications were varied and included reasons such as herbs having better efficacy than conventional medicines [22.4%], herbs being natural, are safer to use during pregnancy than conventional medicines [21.1%], low efficacy of conventional medicines [19.7%], easier access to herbal medicines [11.2%], traditional and cultural belief in herbal medicines to cure many illnesses [12.5%], and comparatively low cost of herbal medicines [5.9%].
Over half the respondents, 56.6% did not support combining herbal medicines with conventional drugs to forestall drug-herb interaction. About 33.4% respondents believed herbal medicines possess no adverse effects while 181 [30.4%] were of the opinion that adverse/side effects of some herbal medicines could be dangerous. Marital status, geopolitical zones, and educational qualification of respondents had statistically significant effects on respondents views on side effects of herbal medicines [p < 0.05)] while only geopolitical zones and educational qualifications seemed to have influence on respondents' opinion on the harmful effects of herbal medicines to the fetus [p < 0.05].
The study emphasized the wide spread use of herbal medicines by pregnant women in Nigeria highlighting an urgent need for health care practitioners and other health care givers to be aware of this practice and make efforts in obtaining information about herb use during ante-natal care. This will help forestall possible interaction between herbal and conventional medicines.
Germany is a country with a high use of herbal medicinal products. Population-based data on the use of herbal medicinal products among children are lacking. The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence, patterns and determinants of herbal medicine use among children and adolescents in Germany.
As data base served the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS), a representative population based survey conducted 2003–2006 by the Robert Koch Institute. 17,450 boys and girls aged 0–17 years provided information on drug use in the preceding seven days. Herbal medicinal products were defined according to the European and German drug laws. SPSS Complex Sample method was used to estimate prevalence rates and factors associated with herbal medicine use.
The prevalence rate of herbal medicinal product use amounts to 5.8% (95% confidence interval 5.3-6.3%). Use of herbal medicine declines along with increasing age and shows no difference between boys and girls in younger age groups. Teenage girls are more likely to use herbal medicines than teenage boys. Two thirds of herbal medicines are used for the treatment of coughs and colds; nearly half of herbal medicines are prescribed by medical doctors. Determinants of herbal medicinal product use are younger age, residing in South Germany, having a poor health status, having no immigration background and coming from a higher social class family. Children’s and parents-related health behavior is not found to be associated with herbal medicine use after adjusting for social class.
Use of herbal medicinal products among children and adolescents between the ages of 0 and 17 years in Germany is widely spread and shows relatively higher rates compared to international data. This study provides a reference on the use of herbal medicinal products for policy-makers, health professionals and parents. Further studies are needed to investigate the effectiveness and safety of specific herbal medicinal products, potential effects of long term use as well as possible interactions of herbal medicinal products with concomitantly used conventional medicines.
Herbal medicinal products; Children; KiGGS; Germany
Between 7% and 48% of cancer patients report taking herbal medicines after diagnosis. Because of the possibility of unwanted side effects or interactions with conventional treatments, people with cancer are generally advised to tell the professionals treating them if they are taking any form of medication, including herbal medicines and supplements. Studies suggest that only about half do so and that the professionals themselves have at best very limited knowledge and feel unable to give informed advice. This study is intended to inform the future development of information resources for cancer patients, survivors and healthcare professionals including tools for use before or during consultation to make it easier for patients to mention, and for healthcare professionals to ask about, use of herbal medications.
This is a three-phase study. In phase 1, a systematic review of the literature on self-medication with herbal medicines among UK populations living with cancer will establish the current evidence base on use of herbal medicine, sources of information, characteristics and motivations. This will allow us to better understand what aspects need further investigation and inform the topic guide for a qualitative study (phase 2). Six focus groups of six to eight cancer patients who have used at least one herbal preparation since diagnosis will explore behaviour, beliefs, knowledge, information sources and needs in an informal conversational setting.
Informed by the findings of the systematic review and qualitative study, in phase 3 we will construct and pilot a questionnaire for a future large-scale survey to quantify and prioritise people's beliefs, needs and information preferences.
Despite known interactions with conventional cancer treatments and contraindications for some herbal remedies with specific cancers, reliable information resources for patients are very limited. Identifying cancer patients' information needs and preferences is the first step in creating a suitable resource for both the public and the professionals advising them.
Maternal health is a public health priority in many African countries, but little is known about herbal medicine use in pregnancy. This study aimed to determine the pattern of use of herbal medicine in an urban setting, where women have relatively high access to public healthcare.
This cross-sectional study included 333 women attending a childcare clinic in a district public health hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, during January and February, 2012, and who had delivered a baby within the past 9 months. Qualitative and quantitative data on herbal medicine use during their latest pregnancy were collected through an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data was analysed descriptively and the Chi square test and Fishers’ exact test used to analyse relationships among variables.
About 12% of women used herbal medicine during their most recent pregnancy. The use of herbal medicine was associated with a lower level of education (p = 0.007) and use before the index pregnancy (p <0.001). Only 12.5% of users disclosed such use to healthcare professionals, and about 20% used herbal medicine concomitantly with Western medicine for the same illness/condition. Women used herbal medicine for back pain, toothache, indigestion and infectious diseases, such as respiratory tract infections and malaria. A proportion of users took herbal medicine only to boost or maintain health. There were high rates of self-prescribing, as well as sourcing from family and friends. Beliefs about safety and efficacy were consistent with patterns of use or non-use, although both users and non-users were unsure about the safety and contraindications of Western medicine during pregnancy compared with that of herbal medicine.
Herbal medicine is used by 12% of pregnant women with access to healthcare in an urban context in Kenya, and often occurs without the knowledge of healthcare practitioners. Healthcare professionals should play a role in rational use of both herbal and Western medicine, by discussing contraindications and the potential for drug-herb interactions with patients. More studies are needed into the use of herbal medicines during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period in different geographical areas, and into the health outcomes associated with their use.
Herbal medicine; Pregnancy; Maternal health; Concomitant medication; Kenya
There is growing concern that serious interactions are occurring between prescribed/over the counter and herbal medicines and that there is a lack of disclosure of herbal use by patients to doctors. This study explores women's perspectives about the safety of herbal remedies, herb-drug interactions and communication with doctors about herbal medicines.
Qualitative, cross-sectional study, with purposive sampling which took place in Cheshire, UK. Eighteen in depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with female herbal medicine users aged 18 years and above.
The large majority did not inform their GPs of their use of herbal medicines. This was due to lack of physician enquiry, perception of importance and fear of a negative response. Several women were not aware that herbal remedies could interact with prescribed or over the counter medicines. Of the women who had experienced adverse effects none had reported them, believing them of low importance.
The women had little knowledge about herb-drug interactions and rarely disclosed use of herbal medicines to their doctor. Doctors' communication and openness regarding herbal medicines needs to improve and there should be increased access to accurate information on herbal medicines in the public and health care domain.
The use of herbal medicines is on the increase globally and they are usually
supplied in pharmacies as non-prescription medicines. Pharmacists are,
therefore, responsible for educating and informing the consumers about
rational use of herbal medicines.
To evaluate the knowledge of pharmacists in Lagos, Nigeria with regards to
the herbal medicines they supplied by their pharmacies.
Pharmacists in charge of randomly selected 140 community pharmacies from 20
Local Government Areas in Lagos were required to fill out a
self-administered questionnaire. We gathered information on their knowledge
of the indications, adverse effects, potential drug-herb interactions and
contraindications of the herbal medicines they supply in their
Of the 140 questionnaires distributed, 103 (72.9%) participants completed the
questionnaire appropriately. The majority (74; 71.8%) of the participants
were males and 36-50 years (56; 54.4%). The pharmacies supplied mostly Yoyo
cleanser bitters® (101; 98.5%), ginseng (97; 98.5%), Jobelyn® (91;
88.3%), Ciklavit® (68; 66.6%), gingko (66; 64.1%), herbal tea (66;
64.1%), and Aloe vera (57; 55.3%). The pharmacists self-rated their
knowledge of herbal medicines mostly as fair (39%) and good (42%), but they
exhibited poor knowledge with regards to the indications, contraindications
and safety profiles. Seventy participants consulted reference materials such
as leaflet insert in the herbal medicines (56%) and internet (20%) before
supplying herbal medicines. The information most frequently sought was
herb-drug interactions (85%), contraindications (75%) and adverse effects
Community pharmacists need to be informed about the indications and safety
profiles of herbal medicines.
Phytotherapy; Herbal Medicine; Herb-Drug Interactions; Pharmacies; Pharmacists; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Nigeria
The purpose of the study was to assess pharmacists’ current practice, perception and knowledge towards the use of herbal products in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The study assessed the need for incorporating herbal medicine as a separate topic in under- graduate pharmacy student curricula.
The study was done on 600 pharmacists employed in Abu Dhabi, who were contacted electronically, out of which 271 had completed the survey. The data was collected using a structured questionnaire.
Pharmacists’ use of herbal products is high in the UAE, as they have a high belief on the effectiveness of herbal products, and only age was found to be the most predominant variable that was influencing pharmacists’ personal use of herbal products (p-value=0.0171). Pharmacists were more knowledgeable on the uses/indications of herbal products (47%) rather than on other areas. Knowledge of the dispensing mode (prescription only or over the counter medicines) mandated by the Ministry of Health was quite good, however, it is to be noted that the source of information on the dispensing mode was provided by medical representatives (48%). Knowledge of dispensing mode of herbal products was found to be significantly influenced by the place of work with more knowledge of the dispensing mode by pharmacists working in the private sector (p-value 0.0007). The results from the study also underscores the need for including herbal medicine as a separate topic in pharmacy college curriculum and to provide for more seminars and continuing pharmacy education programs targeting pharmacists in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Pharmacists need to be informed on indications, drug interactions, adverse events and precautions of herbal products. Concerned bodies must also provide them with regular continuing education programs apart from putting their efforts to incorporate relevant topics on herbal medicine in the pharmacy students’ curriculum.
Herbal Medicine; Education; Pharmacy; United Arab Emirates
Most users of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) combine it with conventional medicine. Recent risk assessment studies have shown risks of negative interactions between CAM and conventional medicine, particularly when combining herbal medicine and conventional drug therapies (CDT). Little is known about the way users consider such risks. The present paper aims to gain knowledge about this issue by exploring views on risks of negative interactions when combining herbal medicine and CDT among people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
This paper draws on a qualitative follow-up study on a survey among members of the Danish MS Society. Semi-structured, in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with a strategic selection from the survey respondents. The study was inspired by a phenomenological approach and emerging themes were extracted from the data through meaning condensation.
Four themes characterized the informants’ views on risks of negative interactions when combining herbal medicine and CDT: 1) ‘naturalness’ in herbal medicine; 2) ‘bodily sensations’ as guidelines; 3) trust in the CAM practitioner; 4) lack of dialogue with medical doctor.
Generally, the combination of herbal medicine and CDT was considered by the informants to be safe. In particular, they emphasized the ‘non-chemical’ nature of herbal medicine and of their own bodily sensations as warrants of safety. A trustful relation to the CAM practitioner furthermore made some of them feel safe in their use of herbal medicine and CDT in combination. The informants’ use of bodily sensations as a non-discursive risk assessment may be a relevant element in understanding these issues.
Multiple sclerosis; Alternative treatment; CAM; Denmark; Contraindications; Negative interactions; Combination of conventional medicine and CAM; In-depth qualitative interviews; Mixed methods research
The increase of herbal medicine use led many scientists to contribute to the research in this field. Also a few pharmacologists, after an initial phase of correct criticisms, today recognize the possibility of investigating the scientific value of medicinal products composed essentially of vegetable extracts. However, it is logical to pose the questions: (i) is there a role for the pharmacologist in herbal medicine (or phytotherapy)? (ii) can we do without pharmacologists’? First, two worlds—drug researchers (pharmacologists) and herbal medicines—yesterday appearing in opposition, are today closer and it is not unusual to read scientific works describing herbal extracts in journals traditionally dedicated to the study of synthetic drugs. Second, clinical application of herbal medicines is evaluable through the methods of modern clinical pharmacology. Efficacy and safety of medicinal plants represent naturally the object of interest for the pharmacologist and it is surely this aspect which gives the most important information on herbal medicine use. Many plants have been studied and results published showing, one time good or another poor, efficacy. Safety aspects of some of the most frequently used plants are now well known. For example, today we learn to use hypericum and we do not give it to patients taking other drugs because the interactions of hypericum with them. Contraindications of other plants, often represented by interactions with drugs, are finally known (Ginkgo biloba and drugs acting on blood coagulation). In conclusion, antagonistic behavior of pharmacologists versus herbal medicines is not useful. On the contrary, modern phytotherapy needs the contribution of researchers usually trained to evaluate efficacy and safety of medicinals.
herbal medicines; herbal medicine; herbs; medicinal plants; phytotherapy
Some herbal galactagogues have gained reputation and recognition by the public and health professionals as alternative approaches to increase breast milk supply. This study explores the perspectives and attitudes of breastfeeding women towards the use of herbal galactagogues while breastfeeding, their experiences, and why and how they have chosen an alternative option over conventional treatments to enhance breastfeeding performance.
This exploratory research was conducted through in-depth semi-structured interviews with women living in Perth, Western Australia, who were using one or more herbal galactagogues during breastfeeding. Purposeful and subsequent snowball sampling methods were employed to recruit participants. All interviews, facilitated by an interview guide, were audio-recorded, then transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data to construct themes and subthemes.
The perspectives and attitudes of the 20 participants are classified under three main headings: i) use of herbal medicines during breastfeeding, ii) available herbal medicines resources, and iii) level of breastfeeding support received. Throughout the interviews, participants described how their perseverance and determination to breastfeed, as well as concerns over breastfed infants’ safety with conventional treatments, influenced their choice of therapy. A sense of self-efficacy and autonomy over their own health needs was seen as influential to their confidence level, supported self-empowerment and provided reassurance throughout the breastfeeding journey. There was also a desire for more evidence-based information and expectations of health professionals to provide credible and reliable information regarding the use of herbal medicines during breastfeeding.
This study has enhanced our understanding of the perspectives and attitudes of breastfeeding women towards the use of herbal medicines, in particular galactagogues, while breastfeeding. The positive attitudes of breastfeeding women identified in this study highlight the need for further research into evaluating the safety and efficacy of commonly used herbal galactagogues, whilst the negative views on breastfeeding education should be taken into consideration when implementing or improving breastfeeding-related health policies.
Herbal galactagogues; Breastfeeding women; Lactation; Perspectives; Fenugreek
A large proportion of cancer patients are estimated to use herbal medicines, but data to substantiate this are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of herbal medicine use among cancer patients in the West Midlands, and determine the characteristics predicting herbal medicine use.
A cross-sectional survey of oncology patients (n=1498) being followed up at a hospital in Coventry was undertaken. Recipients were asked about herbal medicine use since their cancer diagnosis, and the association between sociodemographic and cancer-related characteristics and herbal medicine use was evaluated.
A total of 1134 responses were received (75.7%). The prevalence of herbal medicine use was 19.7% (95% CI: 17.4–22.1; n=223). Users were more likely to be affluent, female, and aged under 50 years. Usage increased with time since cancer diagnosis (X2 for trend=4.63; P=0.031). A validation data set, derived from a survey of oncology patients in Birmingham (n=541) with differing socioeconomic characteristics showed no significant difference in estimated prevalence (16.6% 95% CI: 11.9–22.2).
A substantial number of people with cancer are likely to be taking herbal medicines. Understanding the self-medication behaviours of these individuals is essential if health-care professionals are to support treatment adherence and avoid unwanted pharmacological interactions.
herbal medicines; survivorship; prevalence
Increased use of complementary and alternative herbal medicines in the treatment of various diseases.Some herbal therapies may be causes of potential toxicity that may be renal toxicity caused by the ingestion of herbs. The goal of this study is the toxic and beneficial effects of medicinal herbs on renal health by which evidence for benefit or toxicity has been found. Included are nephrotoxicity from aristolochic acid and other components within herbs, herb-drug interactions, heavy metal toxicity in herbs and adulterants during careless preparation of herbal medicine, resulting in adverse renal effects and renal toxicity from contaminants within the extracts. The review aims to provide knowledge and guide to encourage future toxicity studies on the kidney by medicinal herbs.
Adverse effects; herbal medicines; nephrotoxicity
Utilization of herbal medicines in the preoperative period by Nigerian patients booked for day case surgery has not been explored.
Cross-sectional survey of 60 patients presenting for day-case surgery at a tertiary healthcare institution over a 3-week period in August 2011 was conducted. Using a structured questionnaire, inquiries were made concerning use of herbal medicines in the immediate preoperative period. Socio-demographic characteristics, information on use of concurrent medical prescriptions, types of herbs used, reasons for use, perceived side effects and perceived efficacy were obtained. Data were evaluated using descriptive statistics and Chi-square.
Fifty-two (86.7%) were American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class 1 while 8 (13%) were ASA 2. Most patients (86.7%) had their procedures done under local infiltration with monitored anaesthesia care (MAC), while 5.0% and 8.3% had their procedures done under regional and general anaesthesia, respectively. About 48.3% of respondents were on concurrent medical prescriptions while 51.7% were not. Forty percent (40%) of patients admitted to use of herbal medicine, all by the oral route, in the immediate perioperative period; 87.5% did not inform their doctor of their herbal use. Types of herbs used included ‘dogonyaro’, ‘agbo’, ‘nchanwu’, and Tahitian noni. Treatment of malaria was commonest reason for use in 29.2% of patients, while cough and concurrent surgical condition were reasons given by 12.5% of patients, respectively. Seventy-nine percent (79.2%) of patients considered their herbal medications effective. Perceived side effects of herbal medication (16.6%) included fever, waist pain and intoxication. There were no variations in use between ASA 1 and ASA 2 patients and none between respondents on conventional medication against those that were not. Variables such as age less than 35 years, female gender, being married and being an urban dweller did not show any significant difference in use.
This survey revealed many patients were on one or more herbal preparations in the immediate preoperative period. In consideration of possible untoward drug interactions between conventional medication, herbal preparations and anaesthesia, doctors (especially anaesthetists) should routinely assess all patients booked to be anaesthetized, especially those for day case surgery. The authors recommend surveys with larger respondent numbers to determine prevalence of use and possible interactions between indigenous Nigerian herbs and anaesthesia.
Herbal medicine use; Ambulatory anaesthesia; Day case surgery
Reconciling medication use and performing drug utilization review on admission of a patient into hospice care are essential in order to safely prescribe medications and to prevent possible adverse drug events and drug–drug interactions. As part of this process, fully assessing herbal medicine and supplement use in hospice patients is crucial, as patients in hospice may be likely to use these medications and may be more vulnerable to their potential adverse effects.
Our purpose was to identify herbals, vitamins, and supplements that should be routinely assessed on every hospice admission because of their higher likelihood of use or higher risk of adverse effects or drug interactions.
Experts in the fields of palliative medicine, pharmacy, and alternative medicine were asked to complete a Web-based survey on 37 herbals, vitamins, supplements, and natural products, rating likelihood of use, potential for harm, and recommendation to include it on the final list on a scale of 1 to 5 (least to most likely to agree).
Twenty experts participated in the survey. Using a cutoff of 3.75 for inclusion of a medication on the final list, 12 herbal medicines were identified that should be routinely and specifically assessed on hospice admission.
Although assessing all herbal medicine use is ideal, thorough detection of herbals may be challenging. The list of herbals and supplements identified by this survey could be a useful tool for medication reconciliation in hospice and could aid in identifying potentially harmful medication use at the end of life.
Infertility is a public health problem associated with devastating psychosocial consequences. In countries where infertility care is difficult to access, women turn to herbal medicines to achieve parenthood. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with herbal medicine use by women attending the infertility clinic.
This was a cross-sectional study of 260 women attending the infertility clinic at Mulago hospital. The interviewer administered questionnaire comprised socio-demographic characteristics, infertility-related aspects and information on herbal medicine use. The main outcome measure was herbal medicines use for infertility treatment. Determinants of herbal medicine use were assessed using multivariable logistic regression.
The majority (76.2%) of respondents had used herbal medicines for infertility treatment. The mean age of the participants was 28.3 years ± 5.5. Over 80% were married, 59.6% had secondary infertility and 2/3 of the married participants were in monogamous unions. In a multivariable model, the variables that were independently associated with increased use of herbal medicine among infertile patients were being married (OR 2.55, CI 1.24-5.24), never conceived (OR 4.08 CI 1.86-8.96) and infertility for less than 3 years (OR 3.52 CI 1.51-8.821). Factors that were associated with less use of herbal medicine among infertile women were being aged 30 years or less (OR 0.18 CI 0.07-0.46), primary and no education (OR 0.12 CI 0.05-0.46) and living with partner for less than three years (OR 0.39 CI 0.16-0.93).
The prevalence of herbal medicine use among women attending the infertility clinic was 76.2%. Herbal medicine use was associated with the participants’ age, level of education, marital status, infertility duration, nulliparity, and duration of marriage. Medical care was often delayed and the majority of the participants did not disclose use of herbal medicines to the attending physician. Health professionals should enquire about use of herbal medicines. This may help in educating the patients about the health risks of using herbal medicine and may reduce delays in seeking appropriate care. Collaboration of health professionals with herbal medicine practitioners would help identify the common herbal medicines used for infertility treatment, their potential benefits and harm.
Herbal medicine; Infertility; Uganda Sub-Saharan Africa; Traditional medicine
A plethora of active compounds found in herbal medicines can serve as substrate for enzymes involved in the metabolism of xenobiotics. When a medicinal plant is co-administered with a conventional drug and little or no information is known about the pharmacokinetics of the plant metabolites, there is an increased risk of potential herb-drug interactions. Moreover, genetic polymorphisms in a population may act to predispose individuals to adverse reactions. The use of herbal medicines is rapidly increasing in many countries, particularly Brazil where the vast biodiversity is a potential source of new and more affordable treatments for numerous conditions. Accordingly, the Brazilian Unified Public Health System (SUS) produced a list of 71 plant species of interest, which could be made available to the population in the near future. Physicians at SUS prescribe a number of essential drugs and should herbal medicines be added to this system the chance of herb-drug interactions further increases. A review of the effects of these medicinal plants on Phase 1 and Phase 2 metabolic mechanisms and the transporter P-glycoprotein was conducted. The results have shown that approximately half of these medicinal plants lack any pharmacokinetic data. Moreover, most of the studies carried out are in vitro. Only a few reports on herb-drug interactions with essential drugs prescribed by SUS were found, suggesting that very little attention is being given to the safety of herbal medicines. Here we have taken this information to discuss the potential interactions between herbal medicines and essential drugs prescribed to Brazilian patients whilst taking into account the most common polymorphisms present in the Brazilian population. A number of theoretical interactions are pinpointed but more pharmacokinetic studies and pharmacovigilance data are needed to ascertain their clinical significance.
herb-drug interactions; cytochrome P450; glutathione; glucuronidation; P-glycoprotein; polymorphism; Brazil; pharmacovigilance
The use of herbal medicines among Nigerian patients and the tendency to combine this class of medicines with allopathic drugs while on hospital admission have been on the increase. Earlier studies show that community pharmacists from Nigeria believe that they need more training to counsel patients on their use of herbal medications.
To evaluate knowledge base, use, acceptability, attitudes and beliefs of hospital pharmacists and physicians in South-western Nigeria on herbal products / phytopharmaceuticals /dietary supplements (HP/PP/DS).
A 20-odd questionnaire including an 8- item herbal medicine question was used to assess the knowledge of the physicians and pharmacists in the area of pharmacology of HP/PP/DS. Effects of demographic information such as age, sex, year post graduation, years of experience and area of specialization on the scores obtained were evaluated using Fisher’s exact tests. Level of significance was set at p<0.05.
Pharmacists (51.4%) believed that the training they had was not adequate while physicians (44.6%) believed HP/PP/DS are not safe and 18.5% believed they are not effective. Pharmacovigilance centres were not significantly used for adverse reactions reported by patients. Pharmacists (67.6%) and physicians (29.3%) believed phytopharmaceuticals interact with other drugs. Year of graduation had a significant effect on the perception of the possibilities of interaction for pharmacists. 5.6% of the physicians and 62.4% of the pharmacists scored ≥50% with the questions on use and interaction potentials of HP/PP/DS, with cadre and years of practice having significant effects.
There is a deficiency in the knowledge base of physicians, especially on the pharmacology and potential interaction of herbal medicines. There is an urgent need for the inclusion of pharmacology of common herbal medicines in the curriculum of Nigerian medical degree and an improvement in the pharmacy curriculum in this area.
Medicine; Herbal; Herb-Drug Interactions; Pharmacists; Physicians; Nigeria
Background: A large proportion of patients use herbal remedies with a potential to interact with prescribed drugs. Such interactions can be dangerous, particularly if the therapeutic window of the prescribed drug is small, as with warfarin.
Aims: Our aim was to estimate the prevalence of the use of herbal medicines by patients taking warfarin (co-ingestion).
Design of study: Postal questionnaire.
Setting: General practices in the South West of England.
Method: Thirty-five general practices in Devon and Somerset identified 2600 patients taking warfarin and sent postal questionnaires to them.
Results: One thousand, three hundred and sixty usable responses were received (response rate = 54.2%). One or more of the specified herbal remedies thought to interact with warfarin were taken by 8.8% of all patients. Complementary or homeopathic treatments not specified in the survey questionnaire were taken by 14.3% of responders. Overall, 19.2% of responders were taking one or more such medicines. The use of herbal medicines had not been discussed with a conventional healthcare professional by 92.2% of patients. Twenty-eight point three per cent of responders thought that herbal medicines might or definitely could interfere with other drugs prescribed by their doctor, however, patients taking any non-prescribed medication were less likely to believe this (χ2 = 20, degrees of freedom = 1, P<0.001).
Conclusion: A substantial proportion of patients taking warfarin in southwest England self-medicate with both herbal medicines that are thought to interact with warfarin and with others of unknown effect, usually without informing their healthcare team. Patients have a responsibility to mention such non-prescribed medication to their general practitioners, and general practitioners also have a responsibility to ask whether such co-ingestion is occurring.
alternative medicine; complementary medicine; complementary therapies; drug interactions; herb–drug interactions; self-medication; warfarin