NPS MedicineWise is reminding the public to treat complementary medicines like any other medicines, and talk about them with pharmacists
Almost seven million Australians take some form of CM each day, NPS points out, highlighting to consumers that these products may interact with prescription and OTC medicines.
NPS MedicineWise is urging consumers to “reveal all” their medicines to their pharmacist before buying a CM.
According to a Galaxy survey conducted by NPS MedicineWise, only 20% of Australians never take a complementary medicine and around eight million Australians take two or more forms of complementary medicines in a typical week.
The same survey found that of Australians taking complementary medicines every day, the majority (59%) also take prescription medicine daily.
Dr Jill Thistlethwaite, NPS MedicineWise Medical Adviser and general practitioner, highlighted the example of St John’s Wort and its potential interaction with epilepsy and blood thinning medicines, as well as some antidepressants; and gingko and milk thistle, which may both interact with diabetes medicines.
She highlighted that most CMs are listed products, rather than registered products, pointing out to consumers that this means they have been assessed only for safety and quality, not efficacy.
“When checking or changing treatment, it is important to tell your health professional of all the medicines you are taking including complementary medicines,” Dr Thistlethwaite told consumers.
“And, if you do take complementary medicines, your pharmacist can give you advice on which are safe for you to take.”