CDC warns that MDs should ask about patient supplement use

Particularly given the $34 billion size of the alternative medicine business, it's small wonder if a patient is taking some form of herbal  supplement in addition to prescription medications. Patients don't always mention that they're taking such supplements--but doctors should definitely ask if they are, particularly in the case of one supplement, a new CDC report warns.

One key example comes from the recent CDC Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report. It discusses an herbal supplement known as artemisinin, which has been available in the U.S. without prescription as an herbal supplement for at least 10 years. What's little known is that it can be dangerous. For example, in 2008 a patient developed hepatitis after taking a supplement containing artemisinin, possibly by interacting with other medications by reducing their effects or making them more potent.

Providers should be aware, in the meantime, that artemisinin could lead to hepatic toxicity, the CDC warns.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this UPI item

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