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October 2021

Therapie. 1997 Mar-Apr; 52(2): 97-103.

[Pharmacovigilance off the beaten track: herbal surveillance or pharmacovigilance of medicinal plants]

Castot A, Djezzar S, Deleau N, Guillot B, Efthymiou ML.

Centre Régional de Pharmacovigilance Hôpital Fernand Widal, Paris, France.

For several years, herbal medicines have been increasingly consumed by patients without prescription. They are traditionally innocuous but as medicinal products they require drug surveillance in order to identify their risks. However, the first concern is to give them a legal status, to evaluate their efficacy and to control their safety. Published data show that the risk is due either to a contaminant or to an added drug or falsification. Since 1985, the Regional Pharmacovigilance Centres have received about 341 reports of undesirable effects due to herbal medicines: among them 30 cases of hepatitis were reported associated with germander which has been now withdrawn from the French market. This example well illustrates the role of the national system and its responsibility for collecting and evaluating ADRs due to herbal medicines.

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