Blood Thinners and Diet Supplements Don’t Mix–Especially For Kids

Just because an herbal product is advertised to be “all natural,” this does not mean that it is safe. “All natural” is a marketing term used to convince you to buy a product–it is code for “no side effects.” In fact, most diet supplements are untested as to both their safety and their effectiveness in treating any particular condition, although most consumers look at the packaging (which is designed to look like pharmaceutical packaging), and assume that someone with a white coat has tested the product. Not so. Moreover, herbal medicines can cause dangerous drug interactions, many of which are unknown to science, when herbals are taken along with prescription medications. If you are taking prescription medications and mixing them with diet supplements, you are taking the risk that your medication’s effectiveness may be blunted or substantially increased, either of which can cause significant injury.

The most recent warning is given to us by the Stollery Children’s Hospital in a release to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. Noting the inherent unpredictability of Warfarin treatment itself, the hospital warned that combining such therapy with herbal remedies increases the risks of clots and bleeding in patients. Remarkably, in a study of children taking Warfarin, researchers found 37% to be taking diet supplements, yet the parents had not informed their physicians about the supplement use.

Set out helow is a list of herbal products known to interact with Warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to talk with your doctor about combining any of these products with your blood thinning treatment.

Vitamin C–Vitamin E–Vitamin K–Glucosamin/Chonroitin–Coenzyme Q–Agrimony–Dandelion–Pau d’arco–Alfalfa–Fenugreek–Policosanol–Aloe Gel–Feverfew–Poplar Aniseed Angelica (Dong Quai)–Garlic–Quassia–Arnica–German Sarsaparilla–Red Clover–Asa Foetida–Ginger–Senega–Aspen–Ginkgo Biloba–St. John’s Wort–Bladder Wrack (Fucus) –Goldenseal–Sweet Clover–Black Cohosh–Green Tea–Sweet Woodruff–Black Haw–Horseradish–Tamarind–Bogbean–Licorice–Tonka Beans–Bromelain–Meadowsweet–Wild Carrot–Buchu Boldo–Mistletoe–Wild Lettuce–Capsicum–Nettle–Yarrow–Cassia–Onion–Celery–Parsley–Chamomile (German & Roman)–Passion Flower


Sources:

Heart And Stroke Foundation of Canada

Warfarin Patient Handout