Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month

Drug Interactions Can Be Deadly

Need to Know - Herbal/Prescription Interaction

Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month educates health professionals, patients, and seniors about dietary supplements, herbs, and nutritionals. It also brings awareness to the possible dangers of mixing those products with prescription drugs.

According to a recent study at Harvard University, the use of herbal supplements has increased 50%. Not too surprising, since herbal remedies claim to treat every illness from simple headache to prostate ailment, libido issues, emotional distress and memory deficits.

While these over-the-counter supplements may indeed have a positive impact on common ailments, they should be treated with the same seriousness as prescription medicines. Mixing these remedies with prescription drugs can be outright dangerous. You could have a Herbal/Prescription Interaction.

Commonly used dietary supplements, herbs, and nutritionals include:

  • Echinacea: strengthens the body’s immune system
  • Evening Primrose Oil: reduces symptoms of arthritis
  • Feverfew: alleviates migraine headaches
  • Garlic: for cardiovascular conditions and high cholesterol
  • Ginger: for cardiovascular conditions and arthritic ailments
  • Ginkgo: for poor circulation and memory
  • Ginseng: for elevating energy levels
  • Goldenseal: for healing, antiseptic and germ-stopping
  • Hawthorne: for several heart-related conditions
  • Milk Thistle: for cirrhosis, hepatitis, necroses
  • Valerian: for insomnia and anxiety reduction

But did you know:

  • Ginkgo may interact with aspirin, anticonvulsants, diuretics, antidepressants and blood thinners
  • Echinacea may interact with certain chemotherapy agents
  • Saw Palmetto may interact with birth control medication, estrogens, and anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications
  • Fish Oils may interact with birth control pills, medication for hypertension, Xenical, Alli, and some anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications


The best way to observe Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month is by double checking the herbal remedies the senior in your care takes. Learn how these remedies might negatively interact with prescription medicines. Read the labels on the medicine bottles. Research them online. And most importantly, ask a doctor or pharmacist.


If you’re a senior presently living in a senior apartment, independent-living, assisted-living, or other continuing-care community, you can also ask a knowledgeable person on staff if they can help you determine if the herbal medicines you’re taking are safe when mixed with prescriptions.

If you need help finding senior housing in your area, call (888) WE-ASSIST or visit AlternativesfroSeniors.com.


BLOG Date: July 8, 2012

Writer: Ryan Allen