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Seeking Applicants for Natural Product–Drug Interactions Center of Excellence

September 12, 2014
Craig Hopp
D. Craig Hopp, Ph.D.

Program Director
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

View Dr. Hopp's biographical sketch

In August 2013, I blogged about NCCAM’s interest in the potential interactions of natural products with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Today, I’m happy to tell you that we’ll hold a webinar for investigators on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, to discuss our funding opportunity announcement for the Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug Interaction Research.

The health-care community is becoming increasingly aware that natural products, consumed either as dietary supplements or through the diet, may interact in various ways with medications. However, the scientific literature and other publicly available resources paint a somewhat confusing picture of the frequency and severity of these interactions.

In response, NCCAM has created a new initiative that seeks to provide leadership in this area. The ultimate goal is to develop a definitive approach to determining the clinical relevance of pharmacokinetic supplement-drug interactions. This topic fits very well, we feel, with NCCAM’s overall mission and scientific priorities. Among the outcomes will be a database and public-access portal for the data and methodology resources developed under the grant. These resources will inform design of future research and, ultimately, decisionmaking about using natural products and medications together.

If you’re interested in submitting an application for the new Center of Excellence, I encourage you to register for the webinar on October 7, 2014. The webinar will include an overview of the research grant submissions process, an in-depth discussion of the funding opportunity, and an explanation of the peer-review process. There will also be time for you to ask questions. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing this exciting new opportunity.

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THis sounds like an excellent idea. I hope the plans include listing and/or linking to effectiveness and side effects of both medications and natural products. There is little attempt within the allopathic community to treat a whole person, rather than a collection of symptoms and diseases.  The treatment for one conditon may worsen or cause another, yet no regard is given to over-all health. Side effects may decrease quality of life significantly. Alternative & Complementary care providers often attempt to treat a whole person, yet lack substantive information, so often their efforts fall short. When interactions between natural products and medications are known, the natural products are often vilified, even tho they may provide a better solution for an individual and their circumstances.  Either way, everyone should have access to this information to make better informed decisions for themselves and their families. 

THis is overdue and very welcome by me.  As a CMMT who does a detailed assessment, health history with new clients I’m always very concerned when I see a list of drugs, prescription and/OTC that a client is using or told to use.  With some clients that I’ve turned away it has been the due to the sizable number of “medications” that lead me to consider the number of counter-indications that were, or may there due to their accumulation of side effects.

Respected sirI am Dr Durga Shankar Agrwal, M.D. (Ayurveda) from India.  I am working as associate professor and clinical Ayurvedic Physician. It’s very nice and essential idea for good health of mankind. As complementary therapy are mainly based on herbal products and Ayurveda is the most oldest medical science purly based on herbs and herbal combinations. I am interested to join this program Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug Interaction Research. Awaiting for your favourable reply. Dr D S Agrawal

I’m actually waiting to see how this goes

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Great idea … but shouldn’t the focus be expanded to include topical botanical products and not just systemic?Topical pain relief products, for example, do not metabolize in the stomach, kidneys or go through 90 miles of the blood system.Interaction with either allopathic or systemic alternative products is nil.Considering most pain goes through the central nervous system located peripherally in skin, the agenda can hardly overlook topical alternative products.  

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