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Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin.

Author

Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL

Date

7/2000

Journal

Am J Health Syst Pharm

Abstract

Potential and documented interactions between alternative therapy agents and warfarin are discussed. An estimated one third of adults in the United States use alternative therapies, including herbs. A major safety concern is potential interactions of alternative medicine products with prescription medications. This issue is especially important with respect to drugs with narrow therapeutic indexes, such as warfarin. Herbal products that may potentially increase the risk of bleeding or potentiate the effects of warfarin therapy include angelica root, arnica flower, anise, asafoetida, bogbean, borage seed oil, bromelain, capsicum, celery, chamomile, clove, fenugreek, feverfew, garlic, ginger ginkgo, horse chestnut, licorice root, lovage root, meadowsweet, onion, parsley, passionflower herb, poplar, quassia, red clover, rue, sweet clover, turmeric, and willow bark. Products that have been associated with documented reports of potential interactions with warfarin include coenzyme Q10, danshen, devil's claw, dong quai, ginseng, green tea, papain, and vitamin E. Interpretation of the available information on herb-warfarin interactions is difficult because nearly all of it is based on in vitro data, animal studies, or individual case reports. More study is needed to confirm and assess the clinical significance of these potential interactions. There is evidence that a wide range of alternative therapy products have the potential to interact with warfarin. Pharmacists and other health care professionals should question all patients about use of alternative therapies and report documented interactions to FDA's MedWatch program.

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