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Many patients place herbal remedies and over-the-counter nutritional supplements in the nonpharmacological category of complementary therapies, yet they are pharmacological, says Kathryn Worley, BSN, MSW, manager of counseling services at South Miami Hospital. Therefore, both the nutritional department and pharmacy department work together on possible drug and nutritional supplement or herbal therapy interactions to keep staff updated so that they can provide timely education to patients and family members.
It’s important that patients know to tell their health care providers about any herbal remedies or supplements that they take. It’s also important that family members are instructed not to bring hospitalized patients such remedies without asking the staff, adds Worley.
Drug/herbal interactions also are part of the pain facts patients are given upon discharge. "It is an initiative that we have just started," says Worley.