News

Copyright © 2017 Natural Medicines (www.naturalmedicines.com)
August 2014

Ginkgo Might Interact with HIV Drug

A recent report suggests that Ginkgo biloba might interact with efavirenz (Sustive), a drug that is used in the treatment of HIV.

Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Today, it is one of the top-selling herbs in the United States. Ginkgo is used for the treatment of numerous conditions, many of which are under scientific investigation. While ginkgo is generally well-tolerated, there are concerns that it might increase the risk of bleeding in people who are taking blood thinners.

In a recent report received by Health Canada, a 41 year-old HIV infected man successfully undergoing antiretroviral therapy for 10 years experienced an increase in the amount of HIV present in his blood. It was determined that while he did not skip any medications, he was also taking omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, a multivitamin, flax oil, rutin, and a Ginkgo biloba product daily for the past 2 months. He was also reportedly taking horse chestnut as needed.

Once the Ginkgo biloba and horse chestnut products were discontinued and antiretroviral therapy were continued for one month, the patient’s HIV levels dropped again. The authors noted that due to a previously reported interaction between Ginkgo biloba and the drug efavirenz, it was believed that this was the cause for the rise in HIV levels.

The authors concluded that people with HIV/AIDS frequently take natural medicines in addition to their prescribed treatments. Therefore, it is important for healthcare professionals to remind their patients that there are potential interactions between natural products and HIV treatments. Anyone with HIV/AIDS should always report if they are taking any natural products to their healthcare provider.

For information about Ginkgo biloba, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

References

  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Health Canada information - Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter, Volume 24 - Issue 3 – July  2014. www.hc-sc.gc.ca

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2017 Natural Medicines Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Medicines is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.