The lack of a professional supervision may expose consumers of natural products to risks; pharmacists play an important role in giving information about these substances. A survey was designed to investigate the attitudes and knowledge of consumers and pharmacists toward the safety of natural products. Twenty-three pharmacies participated in the project. On the basis of a pre-structured 17-item questionnaire, face-to-face interviews were conducted with consumers buying a natural product over a 6-month period. A further 8 items had to be compiled by pharmacists about the purchased product. During the study period, 1420 interviews were carried out. The most frequently purchased products were echinacea, propolis, garlic, guggul, ginkgo, liquorice, ginseng, glucomannan, guarana, valerian, and passion-flower; 71.8% of consumers reported to have been taking conventional medicines along with natural products. Some (3.9%) referred to adverse effects in the last year: allergic reactions after cartilage of shark, propolis and thyme; anxiety after hypericum; hypotension and tachycardia after a mix containing chamomile, valerian and melissa; pyrosis and stomach-ache after laxative-depurative herbs. Pharmacists referred to some adverse effects observed in the past in relation to the products bought by consumers involved in this study. Findings from this study demonstrate that in general consumers need information on herbal safety and pharmacists are more likely to answer correctly about the use of herbs rather than about cautions, adverse effects and interactions.

Attitudes and knowledge toward natural products safety in the pharmacy setting: an italian study

CUZZOLIN, Laura;BENONI, Giuseppina
2009-01-01

Abstract

The lack of a professional supervision may expose consumers of natural products to risks; pharmacists play an important role in giving information about these substances. A survey was designed to investigate the attitudes and knowledge of consumers and pharmacists toward the safety of natural products. Twenty-three pharmacies participated in the project. On the basis of a pre-structured 17-item questionnaire, face-to-face interviews were conducted with consumers buying a natural product over a 6-month period. A further 8 items had to be compiled by pharmacists about the purchased product. During the study period, 1420 interviews were carried out. The most frequently purchased products were echinacea, propolis, garlic, guggul, ginkgo, liquorice, ginseng, glucomannan, guarana, valerian, and passion-flower; 71.8% of consumers reported to have been taking conventional medicines along with natural products. Some (3.9%) referred to adverse effects in the last year: allergic reactions after cartilage of shark, propolis and thyme; anxiety after hypericum; hypotension and tachycardia after a mix containing chamomile, valerian and melissa; pyrosis and stomach-ache after laxative-depurative herbs. Pharmacists referred to some adverse effects observed in the past in relation to the products bought by consumers involved in this study. Findings from this study demonstrate that in general consumers need information on herbal safety and pharmacists are more likely to answer correctly about the use of herbs rather than about cautions, adverse effects and interactions.
natural products; pharmacy setting; safety
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/334032
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