Conference to examine effects of dietary supplements in patients taking blood thinning medications

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will convene a conference this week to evaluate the risks of interactions between dietary supplements and prescription blood-thinning medications which are used by four million Americans to ward off heart attack or stroke. Experts from the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration will join academic, patient advocacy and industry representatives to assess current knowledge, identify strategies for clinical guidelines, and determine opportunities for further research.

The NIH Conference on Dietary Supplements, Coagulation, and Antithrombotic Therapies will be held January 13 and 14, 2005, at the Masur Auditorium of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. It is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), in collaboration with the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the NIH Clinical Center (CC), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the NIH Foundation, and the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) at NIH.

"With up to 52 percent of the U.S. population reporting dietary supplement use, it is important that we fully understand how these substances can affect widely-used drugs, such as warfarin and aspirin," said NHLBI Acting Director Barbara Alving, M.D.

To date, there have been few systematic examinations of the effects of dietary supplements when taken with prescribed anti-thrombotic (anti-coagulant or anti-platelet) therapies. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, approximately 180 dietary supplements have the potential to interact with warfarin, a common blood thinner, and more than 120 may interact with aspirin, and other anti-platelet agents such as clopidogrel, ticlopidine, and dipyridamole. Dietary supplements include herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals, other botanical products, fibers, amino acids, proteins,

Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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