2013 Winter Lectures: Charms and harms of natural medicines - Safety of herbal medicines: from patient to population Event as iCalendar

27 August 2013

1 - 2pm

The natural health products industry is said to exceed NZ$1 billion in revenue (including exports). The 2013 Winter Lecture Series featured six weekly lectures that spoke to popular interest in ‘natural’ medicines, and real concerns over their quality, safety and efficacy.

Associate Professor Jo Barnes PhD MRPharmS RegPharmNZ FLS 

Herbal and other ‘natural’ medicines are chemically rich complex mixtures, and many have toxic constituents, and/or contain compounds that can interact with conventional drugs. Recent safety concerns with herbal medicines include adverse liver reactions associated with black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and interactions between St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) and certain prescription medicines. Problems can also arise because of the use of poor-quality herbal products. It is important to monitor the safety of herbal medicines to identify safety concerns as early as possible. Methods used for safety surveillance (pharmacovigilance) of conventional pharmaceutical medicines are used for pharmacovigilance of herbal medicines, but have important limitations for this class of product. Current and future approaches to safety monitoring for herbal medicines will be discussed.

Listen to a recording of the lecture: Safety of herbal medicines: from patient to population