Change medication to avoid interaction with herbal remedy

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

March 31, 2002|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q. I have been self-medicating with Saint-John's-wort for several months to deal with mild seasonal depression and job-hunting stress.

The Saint-John's-wort seems to be helping. I take it morning and evening. I also take Zocor at bedtime. Is there any interaction between Saint-John's-wort and my cholesterol-lowering drug? If so, should I not be taking the herb at all, or should I take it at a different time to have less of an effect on Zocor? My pharmacist and I await your wisdom.

A. Saint-John's-wort lowers the blood levels of Zocor, and this might reduce its effectiveness.

You might not have to give up on cholesterol-lowering drugs, however. Pravachol is a similar medication and is not affected by Saint-John's-wort.

It is not likely that taking Saint-John's-wort at a different time will eliminate the interaction. Grapefruit, for example, affects Zocor and similar drugs for more than 24 hours.

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