Navigation Links
Herbal Supplements, Warfarin Can Be Hazardous Mix

Garlic, ginkgo, St John's Wort could all upset bleeding/clotting balance, study found

THURSDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- People taking the prescription blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) may up their risk for health complications if they also take herbal or non-herbal supplements, new research reveals.

In fact, eight out of the 10 most popular supplements in the United States could spark safety concerns with respect to warfarin, while also impacting the drug's effectiveness.

"I specifically looked at warfarin use, but the real issue is that even though herbal supplements fall under the category of food, and they're not regulated like prescription drugs, they still have the effects of a drug in the body," cautioned study author Jennifer L. Strohecker, a clinical pharmacist at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

"Warfarin is a very high-risk medication, which can be associated with severe consequences when it's not managed properly," she added. "However, warfarin is derived from a plant, sweet clover. In fact, many of our prescription drugs came from plants. So, it's very important for patients to recognize that just because an herb is marketed not like a prescription drug [that] doesn't mean it doesn't have similar effects in the body."

Strohecker and her colleagues are slated to present their findings Thursday at the Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting in Denver.

The authors note that almost 20 percent of Americans currently take some type of herbal or non-herbal supplement.

To gauge how these products might interact with warfarin, the researchers ranked the 20 most popular herbals and 20 most popular non-herbal supplements based on 2008 sales data, and then looked at how their use affected both clotting tendency and bleeding.

More than half of the herbal and non-herbal supplements were found to have either an indirect or direct impact on warfarin. Nearly two-thirds of all the supplements were found to raise the risk for bleeding among patients taking the blood thinner, while more than one-third hampered the effectiveness of the medication.

An increase in bleeding risk was specifically linked to the use of cranberry, garlic, ginkgo and saw palmetto supplements, the team said.

Glucosamine/chondroitin, essential fatty acids, multi-herb products, evening primrose oil, co-enzyme Q10, soy, melatonin, ginseng and St. John's wort all affected warfarin's effectiveness so much so that they prompted a need for adjustments in the drug's prescribed dosage.

"I'm not against herbal supplement use at all," Strohecker stressed. "But physicians need to proactively discuss this issue with their patients because of the consequences that can occur."

Dr. Richard L. Page, a cardiologist and chair of medicine at University of Wisconsin, Madison, and president of the Heart Rhythm Society, believes the larger problem here is poor patient-doctor communication.

"Doctors don't always know what their patients are taking," he said. "Supplements may perform a very good service. Or they may not be providing the sort of care that patients are looking for when they're essentially self-medicating. And where this becomes especially important is that these supplements can interact with the prescription drugs that your doctor may be giving you."

"This report is important," Page said, "because they look at a very common drug, warfarin, which has a narrow therapeutic window. Which means too much is bad cause you bleed, and too little is bad because it won't do the job of thinning the blood that you want. So the bottom line is, be careful of adding new supplements if you are on existing prescription medications, and talk to your doctor if you do."

A representative of the supplements industry took a slightly different view.

Duffy MacKay, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the D.C.-based Council for Responsible Nutrition, the leading dietary supplement industry trade association, said that, "the issue here is really more with warfarin."

"It's just a very sensitive medication," he said. "Warfarin itself has a huge list of drugs, foods and over-the-counters that it interacts with. If you take too much or too little, it can become dangerous."

"So it's sort of a form of sensationalism to suggest that here you have this situation with dietary supplements specifically," MacKay added.

More information

There's more on warfarin at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: Jennifer L. Strohecker, Pharm.D., clinical pharmacist, Intermountain Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah; Richard L. Page, M.D., FHRS, cardiologist and chair, medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and president of Heart Rhythm Society; Duffy MacKay, N.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Washington, D.C.; May 13, 2010, presentation, Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting, Denver

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. CRN Questions Accuracy of Herbal Products Article
2. Herbal Remedies Can Cause Cardiac Problems
3. Ginkgo herbal medicines may increase seizures in people with epilepsy
4. Urinary tract cancer associated with Chinese herbal products containing aristolochic acid
5. Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study
6. Native Remedies and Hires TransMedia Group to Herald Herbal for People and Pets
7. Donate a Herbal Natural Sleep Aid to the Internet's First "Natural Sleep Aids E-book" Written by People Just Like You
8. Herbals Not the Answer for Asthma, Study Shows
9. Sino Veda Herbal Product Maker Goes Natural in Edmonton Research Park
10. Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
11. WhiteDove Herbals Re-Launches Online Store Rocky Mountain Herbals
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... ... Effective immediately, every single IguanaMed scrub style will be available at Target via ... “Buy One Scrub Set, Get the 2nd Scrub Set 50% Off” for a limited ... price. , IguanaMed’s mission is to outfit every healer around the world ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... , ... November 28, 2015 , ... Safe storage for ... of two inventors, one from Lakewood, New Jersey and the other from Bradley Beach, ... patent-pending PROTECTOR to save the expense of having to replace NuvaRings more often than ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios is back again ... choose from, the possibilities are endless. Users have full control over angle of view, ... masking effects, users are sure to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse offers ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... According to an article published November 6th ... the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets may ... part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while helmets have certainly ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of ... ways to treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. ... Hospital Zurich analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ) ... "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type (Reagents & Kits, ... Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application (Research, Clinical Diagnostics), ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... ) has announced the addition ... Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... ) has announced the addition of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of a Biologics License Application (BLA) with ... Administration (FDA) for ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to ... the first adalimumab biosimilar application submitted to the FDA ... biosimilar pathway. Sean E. Harper , M.D., ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: