Use of herbal remedies among cancer and transplant patients in the town of palermo, sicily

Alessandra Alaimo, Alessio Provenzani, Ugo Palazzo, Piera Polidori, Maria Oliva Di Lorenzo, Monica Notarbartolo, Ilaria Morreale, Fabio Venturella, Fabio Fulfaro, Elena Foddai, Natale D'alessandro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Concomitant use of herbal remedies may lead to toxicity or failure of conventional therapies in different patients. The objectives of this survey were to assess: (1) the prevalence of the use of vegetal remedies by cancer and transplanted patients (2) the level of communication about such use to the physicians (3) whether such use might be associated to adverse reactions or interactions with conventional drugs. The study was carried out on 100 consecutive cancer patients attending the outpatient medical oncology clinic of the University Hospital "P. Giaccone", Palermo and on other 100 transplanted patients who were hospitalized or followed up at ISMETT, Palermo. Another group was composed of 248 relatives of patients interviewed at ISMETT. Among cancer patients, 6 referred a current use of vegetal remedies (in particular Aloe in 4 cases and fennel in two), while 28 referred a previous use. Among transplanted patients, 4 and 13 referred current and previous use of vegetal remedies, respectively. Of the other subjects interviewed, 8 and 68 referred current and previous use of vegetal remedies, respectively. There was not so a substantial change in the use of herbal products with the onset of the disease, which could demonstrate a major concern for the efficacy of conventional treatments. No patient or subject reported a current or previous usage of Hypericum. 83.3% of cancer patients, 50% of transplanted patients and 87.5% of the other subjects referred having communicated the current use of vegetal remedies to their physicians. Overall, we have verified that in a Sicilian sample of cancer and transplanted patients the use of herbal remedies is relatively low and with characteristics not alarming in terms of significant toxicities or interactions with conventional drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalActa Medica Mediterranea
Volume26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Adverse reactions
  • Aloe
  • Herbal medicines
  • Interactions
  • Oncology
  • Trasplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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