Concurrent Use of Conventional Drugs with Chinese Herbal Products in Taiwan: A Population-based Study

J Tradit Complement Med. 2013 Oct;3(4):256-62. doi: 10.4103/2225-4110.119734.


The increased use of Chinese herbal products (CHPs) worldwide has raised the concern of herb-drug interactions. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and utilization patterns of concurrent use of conventional drugs and CHPs in Taiwan. The usage and frequency of services in the co-prescription of a CHP and a conventional drug were evaluated. Subjects were recruited from a simple random sample of 1,000,000 subjects from over 22 million beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance in 2007. The logistic regression method was employed to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) for the co-prescription of a CHP and a conventional drug (CH + D) and a conventional drug alone (D-alone). The prevalence of the CH + D was 14.1%. Females, regular salary earners, and elderly (65 years and above) were more likely to consume a CHP and a conventional drug concurrently. Painkillers, especially acetaminophen, and anti-cough medicines were the top two conventional drugs that were most frequently co-prescribed with a CHP. Anti-cough medication is the most common conventional drug co-prescribed with CHP, after painkillers. We recommend that safety issues be investigated in future research and integrating both healthcare technologies may be beneficial for the overall health and quality of life of patients.

Keywords: Chinese herbal product; Co-prescription; Conventional drug; Herb–drug interaction.