Echinacea Drug Interactions
If you take other medications in combination with echinacea, drug interactions could occur. Since echinacea may decrease the activity of certain liver enzymes that are responsible for breaking down many different medications, the herbal supplement might increase the level of many other medications in the blood. To help prevent echinacea interactions, tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking.
An Overview of Echinacea Drug Interactions
Even though it is an herbal supplement, echinacea can theoretically interact with medications. However, little conclusive information is available about drug interactions with echinacea, as is usually the case with herbal supplements. Research suggests that echinacea may decrease the activity of certain liver enzymes that are responsible for breaking down many different medications. As a result, it is possible that echinacea might increase the level of many other medications in the blood (too many to list), possibly increasing the risk of side effects. However, it is unknown if these interactions are significant or not.
If you take any prescription medications, check with your healthcare provider before taking echinacea. This is especially important for:
- Life-saving medications (such as HIV medications)
- Medications with dangerous side effects (such as arrhythmia medications or blood thinners)
- Medications for which effectiveness is very important (such as birth control pills).
Your healthcare provider may want to monitor you more closely and adjust the dose of your other medications, if necessary, if you are taking any of these listed medications and want to also take echinacea.
In all cases, don't forget to mention echinacea when your healthcare provider asks about the medications and supplements you take. It is also a good idea to mention any herbal supplements you take to your pharmacist, who can add it to your list of medications and can check for interactions.