Home Remedies And Prescription Drugs: What To Look Out For
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in La Crescenta and elsewhere respect their patient’s wishes, but they put safety first. Older individuals often have “tried and true” solutions to problems, including health issues. Career home health care nurses know what to look out for when patients combine home remedies with prescription drugs.
“Natural” Supplements Aren’t Always Safe Or Effective
People commonly believe that a natural product is better for them than a synthetic product. They prefer home remedies or supplements prepared from foods and herbs when they don’t feel well. While it’s true that plants have a long history in medicine, not all of them are safe or effective.
At the least, many home remedies are ineffective despite what Grandma said “always worked.” Relying on them often keeps individuals from seeking professional care. And unfortunately, some so-called natural products are unsafe.
Some plants are toxic whether ingested or applied topically as part of a remedy. Others result in cumulative organ damage. Many interact adversely with OTC products or prescription drugs.
Most individuals consume herbs as commercially prepared supplements. Those can have lots of added ingredients that may be harmful in specific instances. Labeling them “pure and natural” doesn’t necessarily make them safe.
Herbs At A Glance has fact sheets on dozens of botanicals. They include information on what the plant is used for, side effects, and precautions. It’s a reliable resource as you discover what supplements or remedies your patients consume.
Some home remedies are known to be safe. People often turn to chicken soup if they feel a cold coming on. Numerous food-based remedies are safe, if not effective, if the person isn’t allergic to the food.
Healthy Foods And Home Remedies Can Adversely Interact With Prescription Drugs
Even when a food or herb has health benefits, combining them with medications can be harmful. Some keep the medications from working, while others amplify the effect of the drugs. For example:
- Cranberry and garlic are both beneficial foods. But each increases the potential for excessive bleeding in individuals taking warfarin or aspirin.
- Fish oil is taken by many to improve heart health. It also interferes with blood thinners and hypertension medications.
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are good sources of nutrients and fiber. Either can also increase blood levels of numerous drugs to potentially dangerous amounts.
- Herbs, such as chamomile and ginseng, are commonly used for various conditions. These, and others, can cause harmful reactions, such as excessive bleeding in patients taking blood thinners. They can also adversely affect blood pressure.
Most people regard green foods, like spinach or broccoli, as good for them. But usually the darker green a food is, the more Vitamin K it has. That interferes with blood thinners to the detriment of the patient.
A quick internet search reveals most of the common home remedies. Some are based on foods, and others combine foods and herbs. A sampling includes:
- 20 Natural Home Remedies That Work
- 35 All-Time Favorite Natural Remedies
- Home Remedies: The Good and the Bad
- Old-Time Home Remedies
- Your A to Z Guide to the Best Home Remedies
There’s value for you in perusing these lists. They can help you discover home remedies your patients may be using, especially non-food products. The more you know, the better you can help them avoid potentially harmful interactions.
Discover Everything Your Patient Takes For Their Health
It’s quite likely that your patients have one or more chronic conditions. They may be receiving care from several providers. And each provider may be prescribing medications.
Individuals often fill their prescriptions at different pharmacies. Not every person is diligent about informing physicians or pharmacists about all their prescriptions. Few report what supplements, OTC products, or home remedies they use, putting themselves at risk for adverse reactions.
As part of your in-home health care, you talk to your patients about their diagnoses and medications. It’s just as important to discuss what products and remedies they take. Doing so can help you keep them from inadvertently harming themselves.
You spend quality time with your patient. The intimacy of the home setting helps you both get to know each other. In time, your patient will begin confiding in you.
They will tell you what they don’t tell others. That includes their families, and it also includes their doctors. You’ll learn what really concerns them about their health and everything they do about it.
Home Remedies Can Interfere With Palliation Treatments
Palliation refers to treatments designed to relieve symptoms such as pain. The underlying cause of the symptom is not cured by palliative care. It’s meant to improve the quality of life for the individual.
Pharmacopalliation is using prescription drugs in palliative care. It includes evaluating dosages, interactions, and side effects. Because multiple drugs are often part of pharmacopalliation, it’s crucial to know all the home remedies your patient uses.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. The goal of our skilled in-home caregivers in La Crescenta and our other locations is keeping individuals healthy at home. Career home health care nurses understand the interactions between home remedies and prescription drugs.