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Safe use of herbal products before surgery proposed

A “rational strategy” for the management of herbal product use by patients undergoing surgery is put forward this week in a study by researchers from the University of Chicago, IL, USA.

Lead investigator Michael Ang-Lee, an anaesthesiologist, notes that although some societies have suggested that herbal medicines should be stopped 2–3 weeks before surgery, “in practice, preoperative consultations rarely take place more than a few days before a procedure, and uncomplicated patients who could very well be taking herbal medications just come in on the day of surgery”.We strove to compile it all in a usable form, making tailored recommendations for each active ingredient”, says Ang-Lee.

The team also suggests that physicians “explicitly elicit and document” herbal medication use by patients, become familiar with the potential perioperative effects of such use, and be prepared to treat problems associated with herbal product use and discontinuation.

– Marilynn Larkin, Published: 14 July 2001.Lancet.

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