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Garlic supplements can impede HIV medication

and now the Associate Director of Clinical Pharmacology at Tibotec-Virco. Noting that some dietary supplements can cause detrimental interactions with medications, Dr. Piscitelli and his colleagues set out to investigate the effects of a number of herbal therapies. As Dr. Falloon explains, We set out to learn more about these alternative medicine products because there simply are not a lot of clinical data available on them. In their first study, the team found a potentially dangerous interaction between the herbal remedy St. Johns wort and the protease inhibitor indinavir.

Garlic became the next focus because of its reputation as a natural cholesterol fighter, which has made it particularly popular for patients whose cholesterol levels have risen due to a side effect from HIV medications. The research team also suspected a strong possibility of a drug interaction because both garlic and protease inhibitors share the same pathway into the body, a metabolic route known as the CYP450 enzyme system. Exactly how garlic supplements disrupt the uptake of saquinavir is still unclear.

Other questions remain as well, says Dr. Falloon. Usually, doctors prescribe saquinavir to be taken together with several anti-HIV drugs, and it is unknown how garlic supplements would affect such a combined drug regimen. More research is needed in this area, but its clear from this study that any patient using saquinavir as the sole protease inhibitor should avoid using garlic supplements, says Dr. Falloon.


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Contact: Gregory Roa
greg.roa@nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
5-Dec-2001


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