• What is the epidemiology of alternative medicine?

    Epidemiological studies show that the use of alternative medicine is increasing in the general population, including among children. Natural health product use in children has been estimated to be as high as 33% in some countries.

    Adverse interactions with alternative medicine and drug treatments can occur?

    Many adults and children use alternative medicines to treat or prevent various diseases. Some people use these together with medications prescribed by their doctor. Regardless of your decision in this regard, it is important to let your doctor know if you are taking alternative medicine. This is because side effects from some alternative medicine may occur, and because some alternative medicine may interfere with the action of conventional medications can occur.

    Can you have allergic reactions to alternative medicine and some foods?

    Some people who are sensitive to substances in pollen will also be sensitive to similar substances present in other plants, like raw or semi-cooked fruit or vegetables. This is known as cross-reactivity. One of the most common examples is “Oral Allergy Syndrome”. In this condition, itching and swelling of the mouth and tongue occurs, usually after eating uncooked or semi-cooked fruit. Most of those affected have other allergies like asthma or allergic rhinitis, and are sensitive to pollen allergens.

    What are the adverse reactions to Alternative Medicines?

    Allergic reactions are most common in people with other allergies, such as asthma or hay fever. These patients are more likely than others to become sensitive to many different allergens, including those in herbal medicines. Adverse reactions/side-effects may result from:

    • .Allergic reactions, perhaps to allergens present in some pollens as well as some other plants like herbal remedies
    • .Toxic reactions
    • .Reactions due to contaminants such as lead or arsenic
    • .Reactions from contaminating or deliberately added conventional drugs, like corticosteroids, pain killers or other medicines

    The safety of any product is a relative concept, which takes into account the potential for side effects in the entire population, as well as those at particular risk by virtue of age, sex, or other medical conditions such as allergies. Allergic patients appear to be at particular risk of allergic reactions of variable severity to alternative medicines and should be warned appropriately.

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