Herbal Medicine Safety Concerns for Patients with Cancer

Categories: Spring 2016
Researchers in Israel reported that for patients with cancer, some herbal medicines could have negative effects on the efficacy and safety of anticancer treatments.

article12.1 6 The study authors provided a questionnaire to oncology health care professionals in the Middle East and identified 44 herbal and 3 non-herbal nutritional supplements in use by patients with cancer. The study reviewed the herbal products to assess potential negative effects.

Twenty-nine products had safety- related concerns, including interactions with drugs that altered the pharmacodynamics, direct toxic effects, and increased in vitro response of cancer cells to chemotherapy.

Herbal medicine use is prevalent in Middle Eastern countries, where the study took place. However, the authors reported that more than 35% of patients with cancer in the United States report using herbal medicine during chemotherapy. “The presence of integrative physicians with training in complementary and traditional medicine can help patients and their health care professionals reach an informed decision regarding the safety and effective use of these products,” the authors wrote. The study was published in Cancer.

The study was published in Cancer.

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