Med J Aust. 1997 May; 166(10): 538-41.
Safety issues in herbal medicine: implications for the health professions.
Hunter Drug Information Service, Department of Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacology, Newcastle Mater Misericordiae Hospital, NSW. [email protected]
The use of herbal medicines in Australia is widespread. A number of factors make assessment of adverse effects associated with these products more complex than for pharmaceuticals. Problems have resulted from contamination with heavy metals and adulteration with prescription drugs in overseas herbal products. A classification is proposed for adverse effects associated with herbal medicines, and medical practitioners are encouraged to include use of these preparations in a patient's drug history and in reports of suspected adverse drug reactions. It may be necessary to develop a separate database to promote adverse drug reaction reporting for herbal medicine and the wider field of complementary and alternative medicine.