Polypharmacy Meets Polyherbacy: Pharmaceutical, Over-the-counter, and Natural Health Product Use Among Canadian Adults

Article · July 2013with18 Reads
Source: PubMed
Natural health products (NHP) are increasingly being used to supplement prescription medications (PM) and over-the-counter (OTC) products. The objective of this study was to examine patterns of overall health product use and how these patterns are associated with social and health factors. We used direct health measures data from the Canada Health Measures Survey (CHMS) Cycle 1.0 (2007/2009) to examine recent product use among adults aged 18-79 years (n=3,721). Latent class analyses were used to detect use (propensity) and intensity of use among users of all three product types. Associations between social and health covariates and product patterns were examined using linear and multinomial logit regression procedures. Three latent classes of health product use were identified. The largest (43%) was characterized by a high probability of PM and NHP but not OTC use. Class two (37%), in contrast, had a low probability of using any of the three health products. Class three (20%) had a high probability of PM and OTC but not NHP use. Age, gender, immigrant status, household size, co-morbidity, perceived health status, and having a regular doctor were associated with these patterns of use. Analyses of intensity of product use among users revealed seven distinct classes; these were differentiated by age, household size, co-morbidity and weight (BMI status). If defining polypharmacy or polyherbacy is based simply on number of health products used, then for Canadians under age 80 neither practice appeared to be widespread. More work needs to be done to define the "poly" in polypharmacy and polyherbacy. This will inform the conversation on appropriate product use, particularly given that about one half of Canadians used medications and NHPs concurrently.
    • "The use of multiple medications and herbs can lead to adverse consequences, particularly for elderly people and cancer patients789. Patients with polyherbal prescription are more likely to receive duplicate medications and thus suffer from adverse drug reactions [6,10]. Because relevant research in TCM is limited, the current study aims to explore the prevalence and the associated influencing factors of polyherbacy in ambulatory visits to traditional Chinese medicine clinics in Taiwan. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with a polyherbal prescription are more likely to receive duplicate medications and thus suffer from adverse drug reactions. We conducted a population-based retrospective study to examine the items of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) per prescription in the ambulatory care of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Taiwan. We retrieved complete TCM ambulatory visit datasets for 2010 from the National Health Insurance database in Taiwan. A total of 59,790 patients who received 313,482 CHM prescriptions were analyzed. Drug prescriptions containing more than five drugs were classified as polyherbal prescriptions; 41.6% of patients were given a polyherbal prescription. There were on average 5.2 ± 2.5 CHMs: 2.3 ± 1.1 compound herbal formula items, and 3.0 ± 2.5 single Chinese herb items in a single prescription. Approximately 4.6% of patients were prescribed 10 CHMs or more. Men had a lower odds ratio (OR) among polyherbal prescriptions (OR = 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.92-0.99), and middle-aged patients (35-49 years) had the highest frequency of polyherbal prescription (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.13-1.26). Patients with neoplasm, skin and subcutaneous tissue disease, or genitourinary system disease were more likely to have a polyherbal prescription; OR = 2.20 (1.81-2.67), 1.65 (1.50-1.80), and 1.52 (1.40-1.64), respectively. Polyherbal prescription is widespread in TCM in Taiwan. Potential herb interactions and iatrogenic risks associated with polyherbal prescriptions should be monitored.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015
    • "The use of herbal medicines in Western countries has increased in recent times with adverse effects being reported due to a range of factors, often derived from a single preparation [3] [4]. The popularity of herbal medicine use (and the inevitable associated adverse drug reactions) prompted Ness and co-workers [5] to coin the term " polyherbacy " to describe the use of multiple natural health products [5] [6]. A case is reported to demonstrate that significant adverse effects may also arise from this " polyherbacy " . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following a short treatment for irritable bowel with the following herbs: Astragalus propinquus, Codonopsis pilosula, Paeonia sp., Atractylodes macrocephala, Pueraria sp., Poria cocos, Dioscorea opposita, Patriniae, Psoralea corylifolia, Alpinia katsumadai, Glycyrrhiza uralensis and Dolomiaea souliei sp. a 43-year-old woman developed acute severe liver failure requiring liver transplantation. Histopathological examination of the liver showed massive hepatic necrosis in keeping with drug/chemical toxicity. Surgery was followed by multiorgan failure and death. While numerous studies have evaluated the effect of polypharmacy, the study of multiple concurrent herb use is only just emerging, despite the popularity of herbal medicine use in the western world. As this case demonstrates that fulminant hepatic failure and death may be caused by the concomitant use of a number of herbal products, the possibility of untoward effects from herbal polypharmacy must be increasingly considered in the evaluation of medicolegal cases.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014
    • "With respect to the use of multiple DS, there is no generally accepted threshold at which extra risk is thought to occur, though there is some guidance about this topic in the polypharmacy literature. Polypharmacy is a situation of high risk for adverse interactions or drug effects, often defined as the simultaneous ingestion of five or more pharmaceuticals, though the most accurate determination of risk for a given individual would also take into effect other factors such as their medical history and the appropriateness of a pharmaceutical or pharmaceutical dose [11, 12]. The assessment of DS safety involves a careful examination of interactions between DS and pharmaceuticals to identify any adverse health outcomes associated with co-use [13, 14]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction. In the United States, dietary supplement (DS) use is common, often takes place outside of the purview of health care providers, and may involve DS in combination with pharmaceuticals. This situation has led to concerns about interactions between DS and pharmaceuticals, as well as the risks from polypharmacy and polysupplement use. Methods. We used data from the Midlife in the US study (MIDUS 2 Survey) to examine DS and prescription pharmaceutical use in 3876 study participants in order to determine the demographics of high-users (5 or more) of DS and pharmaceuticals and the presence of DS-pharmaceutical co-use. Results. Over 69% of study participants regularly used DS, 49.6% regularly used both DS and pharmaceuticals, and 6.3% and 8.7% were high-users of pharmaceuticals and DS, respectively. High-users of DS, pharmaceuticals, and either were more likely than the whole cohort to be female and of lower income. Conclusions. These findings corroborate those of other national studies with respect to the demographics of DS users but add new information about people at risk of DS-pharmaceutical interactions, not an insignificant proportion of the population examined by this dataset.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014
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