The Polypharmacy Network

Polypharmacy Prevention
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What You Should Know About Ginger?
By: Joanne Jansen PharmD and Anjanette Dymerski PharmD
Many people consider herbal supplements safe since they are natural. However, even natural things can be bad for you; for example, a bite from a black widow spider is natural and not good. Always discuss any new supplements with your doctor or pharmacist before taking them to make sure they do not interact with your medications or cause worsening of a disease you have.

It is important to remember that natural supplements and vitamins are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that there may be ingredients in the products that are not listed. There is also no guarantee that the ingredients listed on the bottle are accurate.

Ginger is often used to stop morning sickness, prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting, and to reduce the symptoms of vertigo. Ginger is thought to prevent nausea and vomiting similar to anti-nausea prescription drugs, such as ondansetron (Zofran®). It may work for rheumatoid arthritis due to the possibility that it has anti-inflammatory effects.

Although some people may feel that they do get some benefit from ginger, there are many reasons you may not want to take it. Ginger may interact with some drugs and change or increase their effects. For instance, ginger interacts with all of these drugs and more:
• Anticoagulants / Antiplatelets (blood thinners)
     o warfarin (Coumadin®)
     o clopidogrel (Plavix®)
     o dipyridamole (Persantine®, Aggrenox®)
     o aspirin
     o ticlopidine (Ticlid®)
     o enoxaparin (Lovenox®)
     o heparin