Don’t Take St. John’s Wort with these 773 Prescription Medications
St. John’s wort is a popular herbal supplement that leads the pack in natural and alternative treatments for depression. While herbal treatments are often effective at treating, or assisting in treatment of, an illness, they can also be dangerous when combined with prescription medications. Doctors are well aware of this and should be alerting patients to any adverse effects there may be if herbal supplements are taken with prescribed medication.
Case in point: A study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reports that the herbal supplement St. John’s wort may seriously reduce the concentration of many important medications, such as blood thinners, cancer and blood pressure meds and oral contraceptives.
Drugs.com reports adverse drug reactions have been reported with 773 medications (5398 brand and generic names)” and St. John’s wort. Of these, 146 are considered major drug interactions. Check here to see if your medication is listed in this database.
According to Sarah Taylor, MD, Wake Forest Baptist’s assistant professor of dermatology, “Patients may have a false sense of safety with so-called ‘natural’ treatments like St. John’s wort. And it is crucial for physicians to know the dangers of ‘natural’ treatments and to communicate the risks to patients effectively.”
The Wake Forest team analyzed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and determined that potentially harmful drug combinations existed in 28 percent of the cases reviewed. The potentially harmful interactions included serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal, heart disease and unplanned pregnancy. St. John’s wort has been banned in France, and multiple countries are in the process of labeling the herbal supplement with drug-herb interaction warnings.
According to Dr. Taylor, doctors must “always ask if the patient is taking any supplements, vitamins, minerals or herbs, especially before prescribing any of the common drugs that might interact with St. John’s wort.” Further, doctors should alert patients to contra-indications of mixing certain meds with supplements. Failure to discuss these potential adverse reactions could be considered medical negligence.
If you or someone you love has been injured because due to a dangerous drug combination, or drug-herbal supplement combination, contact a skilled prescription injury attorney immediately. Barry Sugarman is passionate about helping people fight back against the healthcare community, including hospitals and nursing homes, when good people are neglected and abused.