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Background: Due to challenges in therapies, researchers have developed significant interest in herbal medicines during drug discovery and development programs. This study evaluates the knowledge of community pharmacists on interactions between herbal and orthodox medicines in some communities in Anambra State, Nigeria.
Method: Descriptive cross–sectional study was adopted using structured questionnaires that were distributed randomly.
Results: Male/female ratio was 1:1.2. Ages of respondents were between 21-60 years old and above. 49(31.6%) had practiced between 16 and 30 years and they were mainly fifirst degree holders. 96(61.9%) of the respondents claimed that patients had used both orthodox and herbal medicines concomitantly. 23(14.8%) and 101(65.2%) of them agreed that patients used herbal medicine before visiting the pharmacy and they were low income earners respectively. Most patients sourced their herbal medicines from hawkers and herbalists and open markets. Few stocked in Pharmacy shops. The preparations were mainly administered orally. 78(50.3%) of the respondents agreed that there could be herb-drug interactions. The common ailments that herbal medicines were mostly used were malaria and diabetes. Frequently reported adverse effffects in the use of herbal medicines were rashes, nausea and vomiting. There were significant differences in the claim of enhancing and inhibitory effect between orthodox and herbal medicines when used together (P<0.05). 38(34.5%) of the respondents advised their clients that herbal and orthodox medicine should not be used concomitantly. Pharmacists preferred orthodox medicines because of clearer dose, better efficacy and approval by regulatory authorities.
Conclusion: The study revealed the extent of knowledge of drug-herbal interaction and utilization among community pharmacists, and further improvement in their perception will enhance pharmaceutical care practice.
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