Alternative therapies for heart failure may offer benefits, but some have risks


Using complementary and alternative medicines to manage heart failure symptoms offers some benefits but also risks, according to a new science report from the American Heart Association.

The scientific statement, published Thursday in the AHA journal Circulation, encourages people to disclose their use of such treatments to their health care team to ensure they are using them safely.

“These products are not federally regulated, and they are available to consumers without having to demonstrate efficacy or safety to meet the same standards as prescription medications,” writing committee chair Sheryl L. Chow said in a news release. Chow is an associate professor of pharmacy practice and administration at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, and an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine.

“People rarely tell their health care team about their use of supplements or other alternative therapies unless specifically asked, and they may not be aware of the possibility of interactions with prescription medicines or other effects on their health,” she said. “The combination of unregulated, readily accessible therapies and the lack of patient disclosure creates significant potential for harm.”


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