The impact of herbal remedies on adverse effects and quality of life in HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy
Keywords:Quality of life, Herbal therapies, Adverse drug reactions, Antiretrovirals
Introduction: Use of herbal remedies among HIV-infected individuals in Africa increased in the past decade, mainly due to traditional beliefs and at times inconsistent access to antiretroviral drugs. In Zimbabwe, accessibility and availability of antiretroviral drugs has increased in recent years; however, the use of herbal remedies remains high. This study was conducted to determine the impact of concomitant use of herbal remedies with antiretroviral drugs on adverse events and on quality of life.
Methodology: A convenient sample of HIV positive patients at Parirenyatwa group of hospitals' Family Care Clinic (Harare, Zimbabwe) was enrolled. A questionnaire was used to collect data on the adverse event experiences of the patients using herbal remedies for their HIV, as well as the types of herbal remedy used. Quality of life index was measured using an HIV/AIDS targeted quality of life (HAT-QOL) tool developed by the World Health Organization.
Results: Abdominal pain (odds ratio = 2.7, p-value = 0.01) and rash (odds ratio = 2.5, p-value = 0.02) had significant associations with using herbal remedies during antiretroviral therapy. Improved quality of life index was not significantly associated with herbal remedy use during antiretroviral therapy.
Conclusions: There is evidence to suggest that some traditional herbal remedies used in Zimbabwe may increase incidence of certain types of adverse events when used in combination with antiretroviral drugs. Use of herbal drugs in combination with antiretroviral therapy does not significantly improve quality of life index in comparison to antiretroviral drug use only.
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