Arthritis sufferers are more likely than other patients to use herbal remedies, and this increasesthe chances of serious interactions with prescribed medications. A British study showed that Echinacea,gingko biloba, devil's claw, ginger, and garlic are the most dangerous. Echinacea poses arisk of liver damage when used with the more potent antiarthritis medications known as "diseasemodifying antirheumatic drugs."The other herbal remedies could aggravate stomach bleeding riskswhen taken along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, or with steroids.
The study showed that, of 238 rheumatology patients questioned, 105 (44%) had used herbalor OTC remedies in the previous 6 months, and 26 (11%) were taking remedies that put them atrisk for serious interactions with conventional drugs. Their responses showed that almost all ofthem were unaware of the risk, although 10 of them had sought advice from a health professionalbefore starting the use of herbal remedies.