Herbal Remedies and Anesthesia - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/4/02

Herbal Remedies and Anesthesia

You may remember, a Lubbock anesthesiologist made headlines after publishing a survey at Texas Tech last year. Dr. Alan Kaye asked over 1,000 patients if they used herbal remedies. One out of three said yes, they use herbals, but seven out of 10 said no, they have not told their doctors.

Now, Dr. Kaye is the first to offer a lecture to medical students at Texas Tech on herbal medicine. He wants future doctors to make it a habit to find out from patients if they're using herbals because that information could prevent a tragedy.

"I think the things that are most concerning to us are bleeding. Most of the herbals that start with "g" such as Garlic and Ginkgo can cause bleeding. There are other substances like Kava Kava that can prolong sedation, and there are other substances like Ephedra that can cause heart dysrhythmias and strokes and even sudden death," says Dr. Kaye.

Dr. Kaye also says that there have been hundreds of deaths due to herbal interaction with prescription medication, and that since so few are documented, that could be a small percentage of the actual number of herbal mishaps out there. His advice is two-fold:

  1. Make sure your doctor knows everything that you are taking for your health including energy drinks that might include Ephedra.
  2. Most importantly, stop taking any herbal remedies two to three weeks before going into surgery.
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