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MARIANDINA PRODUCT RESERCH -KEY AREA

  • Healthcare professionals will often encounter patients who are taking herbal medicines. However, many patients are reluctant to inform their healthcare professional, so enquiry is important.
  • Research commissioned by the MHRA indicated that approximately a third of UK adults had used herbal medicines.
  • These products have the potential to cause adverse reactions, as well as interact with conventional medicines.
  • We are responsible for monitoring the safety of herbal medicines in the UK and to do this we use many of the same tools that are used to monitor conventional medicines.
  • Furthermore, the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee advises the MHRA on the safety and quality of herbal medicinal products for human use.

Key areas of concern about herbal medicines include:

  • poor and variable quality of unlicensed or unregulated products
    deliberate adulteration with potentially toxic ingredients such as heavy metals, arsenic, and prescription-only medicines (including products that have been banned because of safety concerns).
  • lack of detailed product information.
  • After international case reports of liver damage, we have recently issued warnings in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency about Hydroxycut (a weight-loss supplement) and For todo (also sold as Miradin, a turmeric-based food supplement, often promoted with unsubstantiated medicinal claims).

Regulated herbal medicines:

  • There is an increasing range of herbal medicines with a traditional herbal registration (shown by a THR number on the packaging) coming onto the UK market.
  • We have assessed safety, quality, and patient information for these products. The permitted minor indications are based on evidence of traditional use and not proven efficacy.
  • There are also some herbal medicines with a product licence (shown by a PL number) which are accompanied by necessary information for safe use.
  • Details of the Summary of Product Characteristics and Patient leaflets for products registered under the THR scheme are available on our website.
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