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European Journal of Anaesthesiology:
Evidence Based Practice and Quality Assurance

Preoperative assessment: herbal medicines use: A‐14

Barros, L.1; Rocha, F.1; Matias, C.1; Coimbra, P.1; Fernandes, N.1; Órfão, C.2; Miranda, C.2

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1Resident of Anaesthesiology, 2Department of Anaesthesiology, Hospital Infante D. Pedro, Aveiro, Portugal

Background and Goal of Study: The consumption of herbal medicines has increased significantly. People consider this consumption as something “natural”, but there are data that show that these are bioactive products and have major adverse effects when taken in the preanaesthetic period or together with anaesthetics. This study was carried out in our hospital with the purpose of quantifying the consumption of herbal medicines in patients evaluated in the preoperative period.

Materials and Methods: For twelve weeks, all patients evaluated in the preanaesthetic consultation have been directly questioned about their regular medication and about the consumption of herbal medicines whenever it wasn't spontaneously referred.

Results and Discussions: Seventeen percent of the evaluated patients were taking herbal medicines. Only one patient admitted spontaneously the use of herbal medication on a regular basis. Almost all of them stated that it was self‐prescribed. Patients who referred this consumption were predominantly in the 40‐60‐year‐old range, and mostly female. It was verified that the consumption of herbal medicines is frequent, that in its majority herbal medication is self‐prescribed and that patients don't recognize it as part of their regular medication.

Conclusion(s): Herbal medicines use is common in preoperative patients. It is associated with potential adverse reactions and drug interactions, being thus mandatory that anaesthesiologists have a solid knowledge of these products and become aware of its use in the preoperative assessment in order to optimise their patients' preparation.

© 2006 European Society of Anaesthesiology

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