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Milk Thistle and Hepatitis C

Other Considerations

People with hepatitis C sometimes take herbal medicines, such as milk thistle, to help deal with symptoms, relieve side effects from treatment, or because they did not get a response from their hepatitis C medications. Others take herbal medicines while they are on interferon treatment in order to boost the medication's effects.
 
A key problem with herbal medicines is that, unlike medications dispensed from licensed pharmacies in the United States, the amount of medication in a pill or other quantity of the medicine is not regulated. So, one preparation can vary in potency by five-, ten-, one hundred-, or one thousand-fold, and the person taking the medicine doesn't know what that factor is.
 
Also, other things can be in the preparation that a person doesn't know about. For example, steroids and other medicines -- which can have powerful effects -- can be added to herbal preparations. Again, a person doesn't know this when they take the herbal product. This is why Western medical doctors tell their patients to be careful with herbal medications -- no one knows what the person is really getting.
 
If you are currently taking milk thistle for hepatitis C or are considering it, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. In order to keep you safe, it is important that he or she knows about everything that you are taking, including:
 
  • Herbal supplements
  • Dietary supplements
  • Medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter [OTC]).
     
You can also ask your healthcare provider any other questions you may have treating hepatitis C with milk thistle.
 
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Hepatitis C Treatment-Overview

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