Alternative Medicines Corner

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CAM, OTC Use = Role for Pharmacy

KEY POINT

If anyone needed more proof of the need for a drug therapy expert to help patients avoid harmful drug interactions among prescription, nonprescription, and complementary and alternative medicines, it is now available. According to a just-published national survey, 81% of Americans reported use of at least one medication during the preceding week, including 50% who took at least one prescription medication. Of those on prescription agents, 14% were also taking some type of vitamin, herbal, or alternative medicine. To complete the complex picture, the four most commonly used agents were all over-the-counter: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.

SOURCES

Kaufman DW et al. Recent patterns of medication use in the ambulatory adult population of the United States: The Slone survey. JAMA. 2002;287:337–44.