Report: Combination of health goods risky

July 22, 2007

A study in Canada has found the health industry has not adequately recognized the danger of pairing natural health products with prescription medication.

Research conducted at the University of Alberta featuring 132 pharmacists found that while nearly half had patients with possible side effects from the health combination, just 1.5 percent reported them to Canadian health officials, a release said Friday.

"The data show that adverse events are not being reported or are being under-reported at a dramatic rate," co-author of the study, Dr. Sunita Vohra, said. "Natural health products should be treated with due respect."

Vohra did point out that such harmful occurrences only represented a small portion of the overall use of natural health products in Canada.

The natural health products focused on in the study included vitamins, garlic, St. John's wort, Echinacea and minerals probiotics.

The group suggested using active surveillance and offering customers additional information to avoid such potentially harmful interactions.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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