ALTERNATIVES: How herbal products increase surgical risks

September 2007 
Volume 37  Number 9
Pages 24 - 25
  PDF Version Available!

ALTERNATIVES: Complementary and alternative therapies] Excerpted and updated from Heltemes L, Med Report: The root of the matter: Herbs and anesthesia, OR Nurse2007 , May/June.

NUMEROUS HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS increase risks associated with surgery and anesthesia. To keep patients safe, the American Society of Anesthesiologists recommends that patients discontinue their herbal medicines at least 2 or 3 weeks before surgery. 1 Use the following list of potential complications associated with common herbal products to protect your patients.

Echinacea is used to boost the immune system and guard against colds and influenza. It may cause hepatotoxicity, especially if used with certain hepatotoxic drugs, such as methotrexate or anabolic steroids. 2 Many medications used during anesthesia are metabolized in the liver, so hepatic dysfunction may be a risk in certain patients using echinacea.

Ephedra sinica, also known as ma huang, is used to treat asthma and bronchitis. It's also used in ...

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