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Herbal medicines in Brazil: pharmacokinetic profile and potential herb-drug interactions

Mazzari, ALDA and Prieto, JM (2014) Herbal medicines in Brazil: pharmacokinetic profile and potential herb-drug interactions. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 5. ISSN 1663-9812

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2014.00162 (Published version)


A plethora of active compounds found in herbal medicines can serve as substrate for enzymes involved in the metabolism of xenobiotics. When a medicinal plant is co-administered with a conventional drug and little or no information is known about the pharmacokinetics of the plant metabolites, there is an increased risk of potential herb-drug interactions. Moreover, genetic polymorphisms in a population may act to predispose individuals to adverse reactions. The use of herbal medicines is rapidly increasing in many countries, particularly Brazil where the vast biodiversity is a potential source of new and more affordable treatments for numerous conditions. Accordingly, the Brazilian Unified Public Health System (SUS) produced a list of 71 plant species of interest, which could be made available to the population in the near future. Physicians at SUS prescribe a number of essential drugs and should herbal medicines be added to this system the chance of herb-drug interactions further increases. A review of the effects of these medicinal plants on Phase 1 and Phase 2 metabolic mechanisms and the transporter P-glycoprotein was conducted. The results have shown that approximately half of these medicinal plants lack any pharmacokinetic data. Moreover, most of the studies carried out are in vitro. Only a few reports on herb-drug interactions with essential drugs prescribed by SUS were found, suggesting that very little attention is being given to the safety of herbal medicines. Here we have taken this information to discuss the potential interactions between herbal medicines and essential drugs prescribed to Brazilian patients whilst taking into account the most common polymorphisms present in the Brazilian population. A number of theoretical interactions are pinpointed but more pharmacokinetic studies and pharmacovigilance data are needed to ascertain their clinical significance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1115 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
R Medicine > RV Botanic, Thomsonian, and eclectic medicine
Divisions: Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2020 09:50
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 06:42
DOI or ID number: 10.3389/fphar.2014.00162
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13618
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