More than a million pensioners risk worsening their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke by taking herbal remedies alongside statins and warfarin, researchers have warned.
A new study found older people on the life-saving drugs are often also taking three or more herbal supplements, such as St John’s Wort or ginseng, which can reduce their effect.
Published in the British Journal of General Practice, the study surveyed patients at two surgeries and found that one-third of those over 65 were taking both prescribed drugs and herbal remedies.
According to the survey, women were around twice as likely to use prescribed medicine alongside a dietary supplement to men, 43.4 percent compared to 22.5.
The most commonly used dietary supplements were cod liver oil, glucosamine, multivitamins, and vitamin D.
While common herbal medicinal products were evening primrose oil, valerian, and a branded herbal product that includes hops, gentian, and passion flower.
The study suggested that doctors print warnings about the risks of herb interactions on prescriptions and that pharmacists should be trained to ask customers what herbal supplements they are taking.
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