Background: The most dispensed phytotherapeutic products in Spain are laxatives. Anthracenic laxatives such as aloe vera (Aloe spp.) or cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshianus) could be involved in drug interactions due to the risk of hypokalemia caused by their continued use.
Objectives: To carry out an analysis of the dispensing situation of these laxatives and detect potential interactions in pharmacies of the Province of Seville.
Material / Methods: A descriptive, observational study made from 14 Pharmacy Offices, through the application of a questionnaire about the use of medicinal herbs. The potential interactions described in the EMA and ESCOP monographs were identified, and the risk factors for them (advanced age, polymedication and frequency of use) were analyzed.
Results: The sample was constituted by 252 patients. 24.6% (n=62) consumed anthracene laxatives, more than 50% daily. The percentage of association with other drugs was 70%. Potential interactions have been identified in 40% (n=26) of the patients, based on the association of the laxative with diuretic drugs, with drugs that could prolong the QT interval, or with both at the same time. In all of them, the existence of one or several Risk Factors for Interaction (FRI) was detected.
Conclusions: The results obtained show the need for updated training by community pharmacists on the benefits and risks of these phytoterapics products. Its protocolized dispensation would favor the identification of possible pharmacological interactions and their safe and rational use.