Items in AFP with MESH term: Plant Preparations
ABSTRACT: Older Americans comprise 13 percent of the population, but they consume an average of 30 percent of all prescription drugs. Every day, physicians are faced with issues surrounding appropriate prescribing to older patients. Polypharmacy, use of supplements, adherence issues, and the potential for adverse drug events all pose challenges to effective prescribing. Knowledge of the interplay between aging physiology, chronic diseases, and drugs will help the physician avoid potential adverse drug events as well as drug-drug and drug-disease interactions. Evidence is now available showing that older patients may be underprescribed useful drugs, including aspirin for secondary prevention in high-risk patients, beta blockers following myocardial infarction, and warfarin for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. There is also evidence that many older adults receive medications that could potentially cause more harm than good. Finding the right balance between too few and too many drugs will help ensure increased longevity, improved overall health, and enhanced functioning and quality of life for the aging population.
Valerian - Article
ABSTRACT: Valerian is a traditional herbal sleep remedy that has been studied with a variety of methodologic designs using multiple dosages and preparations. Research has focused on subjective evaluations of sleep patterns, particularly sleep latency, and study populations have primarily consisted of self-described poor sleepers. Valerian improves subjective experiences of sleep when taken nightly over one- to two-week periods, and it appears to be a safe sedative/hypnotic choice in patients with mild to moderate insomnia. The evidence for single-dose effect is contradictory. Valerian is also used in patients with mild anxiety, but the data supporting this indication are limited. Although the adverse effect profile and tolerability of this herb are excellent, long-term safety studies are lacking.
Panax ginseng - Article
ABSTRACT: The herbal remedies referred to as ginseng are derived from the roots of several plants. One of the most commonly used and researched of the ginsengs is Panax ginseng, also called Asian or Korean ginseng. The main active components of Panax ginseng are ginsenosides, which have been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Results of clinical research studies demonstrate that Panax ginseng may improve psychologic function, immune function, and conditions associated with diabetes. Overall, Panax ginseng appears to be well tolerated, although caution is advised about concomitant use with some pharmaceuticals, such as warfarin, oral hypoglycemic agents, insulin, and phenelzine. Panax ginseng does not appear to enhance physical performance. Products with a standardized ginsenoside concentration are available.
St. John's Wort - Article
ABSTRACT: St. John's wort has been used to treat a variety of conditions. Several brands are standardized for content of hypericin and hyperforin, which are among the most researched active components of St. John's wort. St. John's wort has been found to be superior to placebo and equivalent to standard antidepressants for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Studies of St. John's wort for the treatment of major depression have had conflicting results. St. John's wort is generally well tolerated, although it may potentially reduce the effectiveness of several pharmaceutical drugs.
ABSTRACT: Use of complementary and alternative medicine has increased over the past decade. A variety of studies have suggested that this use is greater in persons with symptoms or diagnoses of anxiety and depression. Data support the effectiveness of some popular herbal remedies and dietary supplements; in some of these products, particularly kava, the potential for benefit seems greater than that for harm with short-term use in patients with mild to moderate anxiety. Inositol has been found to have modest effects in patients with panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Physicians should not encourage the use of St. John's wort, valerian, Sympathyl, or passionflower for the treatment of anxiety based on small or inconsistent effects in small studies. Although the evidence varies depending on the supplement and the anxiety disorder, physicians can collaborate with patients in developing dietary supplement strategies that minimize risks and maximize benefits.
Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis - Article
ABSTRACT: A large number of dietary supplements are promoted to patients with osteoarthritis and as many as one third of those patients have used a supplement to treat their condition. Glucosamine-containing supplements are among the most commonly used products for osteoarthritis. Although the evidence is not entirely consistent, most research suggests that glucosamine sulfate can improve symptoms of pain related to osteoarthritis, as well as slow disease progression in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Chondroitin sulfate also appears to reduce osteoarthritis symptoms and is often combined with glucosamine, but there is no reliable evidence that the combination is more effective than either agent alone. S-adenosylmethionine may reduce pain but high costs and product quality issues limit its use. Several other supplements are promoted for treating osteoarthritis, such as methylsulfonylmethane, Harpagophytum procumbens (devil's claw), Curcuma longa (turmeric), and Zingiber officinale (ginger), but there is insufficient reliable evidence regarding long-term safety or effectiveness.
Cranberry Products for Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection - Cochrane for Clinicians
Best Alternatives to Statins for Treating Hyperlipidemia - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
ABSTRACT: The results of recent large clinical trials have led physicians and patients to question the safety of menopausal hormone therapy. In the past, physicians prescribed hormone therapy in an attempt to improve overall health and prevent cardiac disease. Hormone therapy appears to increase the risk of breast cancer when used for more than three to five years; therefore, regulatory agencies now advise that physicians prescribe it only to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal atrophy, with the smallest effective dosage and for the shortest possible duration. Although estrogen is the most effective treatment for hot flashes, alternatives such as venlafaxine and gabapentin are effective for some patients. Herbal formulations such as dong quai, ginseng, kava, and dietary soy, among others, do not appear to benefit patients more than placebo. In contrast to systemic estrogen therapy, topical estrogen therapy for vulvovaginal atrophy is more appealing for certain patients because it does not require the addition of a progestogen for endometrial protection. Some have advocated selective estrogen reuptake modulators as alternatives to hormone therapy for the prevention of menopausal osteoporosis. The decision to use either therapy depends on clinical presentation and a thorough evaluation of the risks and benefits, because both have potential detrimental health effects and both are linked to an increased risk of venous thromboembolism.