A new study that looked at the possible harms of mixing prescription drugs and natural health products showed that although adverse reactions do occur, pharmacists rarely report them.

This may prove to be a big problem as it lessens the knowledge of harm.
Without these adverse reactions being reported, neither doctors nor pharmacists will be able to advise their patients correctly on which combining to avoid.

Over 70% of Canadians reported using natural health products, such as St. John's wort, echinacea, Chinese medicines, vitamins, herbal remedies or garlic pills. Many of those people who also suffer from chronic diseases take prescription medications but are not aware of the potential risks.
The most worrying fact is that 50% of the pharmacists who responded the survey didn’t know that organ transplant patients taking the anti-rejection drug Cyclosporine along with St. John's wort may cause them to reject their new organ, or that St. John's wort could minimize the effects of oral contraceptives, and that cranberry juice often taken for bladder infections could make the blood-thinning drug Warfarin unstable.

It has been found that only one or two out of every 50 adverse reactions and drug interactions are being reported. Besides pharmacists not reporting, very little research is being done on the topic.

This is not one group's responsibility but a shared responsibility between pharmacists, health-care professionals and patients. Public needs to become aware of the possible problems and make informed decisions. Not all things that are natural are automatically safe.