Herbal Remedies May Be Risky With Heart Drugs
Researchers Say Some Supplements Should be Avoided by Patients Taking Heart Drugs
WebMD News Archive
Older Patients Most at Risk continued...
Not all interactions identified by the researchers involved herbal or
Jahangir says taking heart medications with grapefruit juice is a common
cause of drug toxicity.
For almost two decades, researchers have known that grapefruit juice can
increase dosages of some drugs to toxic levels by inhibiting a key enzyme in
the intestine that breaks down medications.
He says patients on cholesterol-lowering statins who take the drugs with
grapefruit juice may end up with blood statin levels that are three to four
times higher than intended.
"I think it is a good idea for anyone taking medication to avoid grapefruit
juice because the effects can last as long as 24 hours," he says.
The Mayo researchers conclude that there is a clear need for increased
regulation to protect the public from herbal and alternative supplements that
can harm them.
Supplement Industry Reaction
A spokesman for the dietary supplement industry's leading trade group was
highly critical of the claim and the research analysis in general in a written
statement released today.
Council for Responsible Nutrition Vice President for Scientific and
Regulatory Affairs Douglas MacKay, ND, writes that the analysis represents a
"biased, poorly written and contrived attack on herbal supplements," which
contained "sweeping generalizations, often not backed by relevant citations,
and copious factual errors."
He faults the researchers for not acknowledging recent changes in federal
law that require dietary supplement manufacturers to report serious adverse
events to the FDA.
According to MacKay, in the first full year the law was in effect, the FDA
reported 1,080 adverse events linked to the use of vitamins and minerals, as
well as herbal, sports, and weight loss supplements. A total of 672 adverse
events were considered serious.
"For the same year, FDA received over 526,000 adverse event reports
related to drugs and biologic products, overn 300,000 of which were
considered serious, including close to 50,000 deaths," he writes.