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Herbal Supplements May Cause Dangerous Drug Interactions in Orthopaedic Surgery Patients
Date:10/10/2011

supplement."

Although the use of herbal medicines should be monitored by patients' primary care physicians, Dr. Rispler said orthopaedic surgeons should have an understanding of the potential side effects of some of the most common CAM products used by their patients, and be able to guide them in suspending use prior to surgery.

To help ensure physicians are aware of the products their patients may be using, Dr. Rispler also recommends including CAM product-use questions on health/medical assessment forms to encourage patient disclosure.

"Physician-patient communication often does not include the use of CAM therapies, which results in underreporting of their use," he said. "To help avoid potential side effects, orthopaedists should develop questionnaires that can be used prior to surgery to help determine if their patients are using CAM products." Alternatively, patients should also report usage of any herbal products or other supplements they may be taking to all their physicians.

"By opening up a conversation on the use of herbal medications around the time of surgery and compiling a complete list of all prescribed and self-prescribed medications and supplements, patients and physicians may be able to work together to decrease the risk of complications that can occur during and following surgery," Dr. Rispler said.

Disclosure: Neither of the authors nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

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More information on understanding complementary and alternative medicine can be found at http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00283.

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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