health day reporter
TUESDAY, May 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A middle-aged woman has learned the hard way that herbal supplements can be harmful.
The 56-year-old suffered from a dangerous heart rhythm disorder after taking high doses of hemp oil containing CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol) and berberine supplements. She told doctors she used the supplements to help her manage a stressful work schedule.
According to a new case study, she was admitted to a hospital emergency department after feeling dizzy and passing out without warning. There, he was diagnosed with a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia.
An ECG showed a rapid heartbeat coming from the ventricles and a markedly prolonged QT interval, meaning the heart’s electrical system takes longer than normal to recharge between beats, the study said. The report appears in the May 16 issue of Heart Rhythm Case Reports.
“More and more people are taking herbal supplements for their potential benefits. Yet their ‘natural’ character can be misleading, as these preparations can have serious adverse side effects on their own or if combined with other supplements or medications,” said Dr Elise Bakelants, of the University Hospitals Cardiology Department. from Geneva to Switzerland.
“Their use should not be taken lightly and dosage recommendations should always be followed,” Bakelants said in a press release.
Apart from low blood pressure, blood tests and physical examination of the patient were normal. Her doctors identified the cause of her heart emergency as the herbal supplements she was taking.
Four months earlier, the woman had started taking six times the recommended dose of hemp oil and had recently added berberine to the mix.
All supplements were stopped during her hospital stay and her QT normalized after five days. Three months later, she had no new episodes of dizziness or fainting and her ECG was within the normal range.
In addition to following dosage guidelines, patients and physicians should be aware of possible side effects and interactions with other medications. This is especially true for people with underlying heart disease or those already taking QT-prolonging drugs, Bakelants said.
The popularity of herbal supplements has increased in recent years, especially those containing CBD, which do not require a prescription. CBD is taken by some to relieve pain, fight inflammation and provide other benefits, the researchers noted.
Berberine is found in the roots, rhizomes and stem bark of many medicinal plants. It is used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat infections, diarrhea, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health explains why natural isn’t always better.
THE SOURCE: Heart Rhythm Case Reports, press release, May 16, 2022