heart herbal study may apply as well to cats
- from vetpet human study but may apply to cats
New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine
For Release 1/24/01
NYU Medical Center's Department of Pediatric cardiology reports use of
alternative therapies in children poses cardiovascular risks
Herbal preparations may produce adverse cardiovascular complications in
On Tuesday, October 23, 2001 Michael Artman, MD, FAAP, Director of Pediatric
Cardiology at NYU Medical Center presented information at the National
Conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in San Francisco
regarding the potential risk of using complementary and alternative medical
therapies, particularly the use of common herbs and nutritional supplements,
and their adverse implications on the cardiovascular systems of children.
According to Artman, "This is a growing national problem. In adults,
approximately 50% use some form of complementary medicine. Annual spending
is over 5 billion dollars on herbal products and 2 billion on dietary
supplements in the US. It is growing with children."
To date, there is little documented evidence if these alternative therapies
are safe and/or effective. Most products are not standardized, vary wide in
concentration and components, and there is little or no data on utilization,
prevalence, efficacy, and acute/chronic toxicity in children.
One common herb with demonstrated cardiovascular activity is ephedra, a
Chinese herb that is a mixture of several different chemicals and used for
asthma, weight loss, energy booster. The drugs in ephedra can cause high
blood pressure, palpitations, stroke, and death. Garlic, another common
herbal supplement, can interfere with platelet aggregation; and some cardiac
medications, such as blood thinners, when combined with garlic supplements
can increase the risk of stroke or excessive bleeding following surgery.
Artman urged the pediatric practitioners not to underestimate the magnitude
of CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) utilization in their parents
and to document CAM requests, discussions, and responses in the patient's
medical records. " Alternative therapies are potentially quite toxic with
minimal benefit and should not be recommended," stated Artman. " Healthcare
providers must be alert to potential adverse effects and drug interactions
due to herbal medications."
Dr. Artman is Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology & Neuroscience at NYU
School of Medicine and has authored numerous papers, books, book chapters,
and abstracts. He is presently a member of the Cardiovascular and Renal
Drugs Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration.
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