HIV/AIDS drugs

A Pharmacist with AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF), Ifeanyi Ezeudemba, has warned persons living with HIV and AIDS to stay away from co-administration of anti-retroviral (ARV) medications and herbal medicines.

Ezeudemba gave the warning while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Saturday.

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According to him, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that about two-thirds of persons living with HIV in developing countries use traditional herbal medicines.

He said herbal medicines are perceived by those who use them as to have advantages over conventional drugs.

He noted such perceived advantages to including potent healing properties, safety from being largely organic, and easily accessible and affordable by the majority who are unable to bear the cost of conventional drugs.

“The alteration of the potent elements in ARVs pharmacokinetic properties, adversely affects the absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of ARVs.

“This ultimately reduces the quantities of ARV drug concentration to suppress the HIV in the human system, which also can lead to the development of resistance and HIV treatment failure.

“Also the potential interaction between certain herbal medicines and ARVs may lead to toxicity,’’ he added.

Ezeudemba further advised patients undergoing anti-retroviral therapy to desist from self-medication and seek professional advice from health care providers if they desire to use other medications in addition to their ARVs.