Natural Health Product Adverse Reactions (SONAR): Active Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Concurrent Natural Health Product and Prescription Drug Use in Community Pharmacies

Recent national surveys in North America, Australia and Europe suggest that more than half of the population uses dietary supplements, also known as natural health products (NHPs) or complementary medicines, including herbs, vitamins, minerals and other supplements. [1][6]In developing countries, use is even higher; in Africa for example, 80% of the population uses African Traditional Medicine, 90% of which is plant-based. [5].

 Reported also within the above captioned PubMed article is the following:

NHPs are generally considered to be safe by the public, despite the growing evidence that this is not always the case. [1], [7][11] Particular caution is warranted when NHPs are used in combination with prescription medications due to the potential for interactions. [1] Of note, NHPs are frequently used by patients with chronic or recurrent conditions; these patients are also the most likely to be prescribed conventional medications. [12][14] Since the likelihood of an adverse event (AE), including drug interactions, increases with the number of medicinal products used, it is hypothesized that patients who concurrently use prescription medications and NHPs are therefore at greater risk for an AE than if they were using either product alone and represent a population of particular interest with respect to exploring the safety of NHPs.[10].

The many Canadians who take natural health products as well as prescription drugs are six times as likely to suffer unwanted side effects. What does this mean?

Research shows that natural health products through historical use, traditional use, scientific evaluation and clinical outcomes studies have properties often that prove substantially beneficial in treating or managing conditions at source or cause. Rx or prescription medication indicated for a condition also must undergo rigorous, labourious testing. Whether it be Rx, OTC, or NHP each individual category or product is studied separately for outcomes, and in Canada under the NNHPD are evaluated (NHP or natural products) for safety and efficacy much like an OTC. To mix therapies, drugs, treatments and expect a positive outcome is not guaranteed. Much of our Rx and OTC products contain natural ingredients, as well as synthetic…Natural is natural…both can be potent and effective.

This means one needs to be cognizant that mixing drugs or any “medication” or treatment in combination or “cocktails” does not necessarily guarantee positive efficacy or outcome. This means – Choice is essential.   When engaged in treatment or preventative measures it is imperative that information is shared with all health practitioners as well as treatment interventions whether it be OTC, Rx or NHP – natural products.

All are in essence medications or tonics that affect the body physiologically. For a number of reasons, largely by experience Natural Comments supports natural traditional “medicines” in the treatment and prevention of conditions. Seeking the cause and addressing at source with NHP products that are evidenced-based, effective.    

Medical Care – Rx Drugs-The Toronto Sun

Medical care main cause of death -Prescription drug adverse effects cost millions- These are only the  tangible “costs”………

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones

By , Special to Postmedia Network

First posted: Saturday, April 02, 2016 07:00 AM EDT

Gifford Jones

A meticulous study concluded that, every year in the U.S, conventional medicine kills 800,000 patients. Compare this figure to 700,000 that die of heart disease and 500,000 from cancer.

The report claims that 7.5 million medical and surgical procedures are unnecessary. Another 8.9 million patients are admitted needlessly to hospital and 2.2 million patients suffer adverse reactions to prescription drugs. The cost of this treatment? – 282 billion dollars.

It’s appalling that every year 20 million people are treated with antibiotics for viral infections. But viral infections are not affected by antibiotics, only infections caused by bacteria!

The survey authors say past studies have concentrated on individual medical care rather than the big picture. They show that, during a 10 year period, 50% of the U.S. population will receive unnecessary medical care. During this time medical care will kill 7.8 million people. This is more than all the casualties from all the wars fought by the U.S. in its entire history!

The Journal of the American Medical Association adds that one million patients are injured annually in the U.S and that 280,000 die due to these injuries. Compare this to 45,000 killed in car accidents.

Another prestigious publication, The New England Journal of Medicine, states that one in four patients admitted to hospital suffers a medical error. The majority of these mistakes involve drugs for depression, painkillers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular drugs.

At this point I wouldn’t blame readers asking, “What the hell is going on?” Some problems are due to tired doctors and nurses. Or the failure to use only specially trained doctors in intensive care units. Or because doctors and hospitals fail to report complications for fear of litigation. The list is as long as your arm.

The authors conclude with a shocking indictment that conventional medical treatment is the main cause of death in the United States! In fact, they believe most of the figures are under-reported and the death toll is equal to six jumbo jets crashing every day in the U.S.

The survey covers problems that I’ve reported for years. That young children taking Ritalin are being programmed for a life on drugs. That big pharma has spent 2.5 billion dollars claiming it’s educating the public while increasing its own bottom line. That the public is misled and programmed to illness by nightly TV diagnoses.

Dr. John Goffman, an expert on radiation, warns that in the future 75% of cancers will be the result of excessive radiation from X-rays, CT scans, mammography and fluoroscopy. He reports that an X-ray of the chest results in 2MREM of radiation. But an angiogram to detect coronary disease results in 460 to 1580 MREM!

Since this report is devastating, what should medical consumers do to protect themselves? Look on it as a big wakeup call, get smart and don’t become one of these statistics. Never believe that even minor surgery is risk-free. If hospitalized, understand that the sooner you leave, the safer you will be. Be extremely cautious about radiation. Don’t take a painkiller for every ache and pain. There’s no free lunch with medication. Will we ever learn from history?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The column does not constitute medical advice and is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure disease. Please contact your doctor. The information provided is for informational purposes only and are the views solely of the author.