Natural Meds and Surgery: Hidden Risks

 Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

Taking natural medicines such as Ginko Biloba, ginseng or Vit E?

Did you know these natural medicines could cause complications in surgery, or increase your risk for post operative bleeding?

Estimates suggest that 62% of the population in North America takes some form of natural medicine. Many people do not consider natural medicines to be “drugs” or “medications”, and generally equate “natural” with “safe”, so they fail to report these medications to health care providers before surgery.

Echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St. John’s wort and valerian are commonly used herbal medications that could cause concern during the perioperative period.

Direct effects include bleeding from ginkgo, garlic and ginseng, or cardiac instability from ephedra. Indirectly, natural medicines such as valerian could interact with anesthetic drugs to intensify their effects.

My suggestion, make sure you make a list of all the natural remedies you take, in addition to your list of prescribed medications, and tell your surgical team about all medications, natural, prescribed and over the counter.

Recommended practice is to stop taking any medications which could cause bleeding two weeks before a surgical procedure. Be sure to let your surgeon know and ask if you should stop taking anything before surgery.

Check the database for more information about natural remedies and possible risks.

Please share your thoughts with me!

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