Traditional herbal remedies have been used to treat many ailments in Nigeria but the safety of herbal remedies
has been the major concerns to many people especially when the chemical constituents of the products are not known.
This study is therefore designed to evaluate the prevalence of use of complementary drugs with antiretroviral (ARV)
therapy and possible treatment outcome of the concurrent utilization of these therapeutic agents. A descriptive crosssectional
survey of 354 HIV patients attending APIN clinics in LUTH using a consecutive sampling technique was used.
There was also correlation of the data obtained from the patients with their clinical case notes. Results showed that only
8.2 % of the respondents’ used herbal medicine concurrently with ARV therapy. Ninety percent of the participants were
on a two nucleoside and one non-nucleoside based ARV therapy. The most common regimen (55%) was
Zidovudine/lamivudine/Nevirapine fixed dose combination while 10% use a protease inhibitor based regimen. The
commonly herbal drugs used ranges from Jobelyn [Sorghum bicolor plant leaves (13.8%)], Garlic [Allicin, ϒ-glutamyl-
(s)-ally-L-Cysteine] (10.3%), Ginger [Essential oil] (17.2%) and Aloe vera [Hydroxyanthracene derivatives expressed as
Barbaloin] (10.3%). The major reason for the commencement of herbal medicine is the perception that the medicine will
boost their immunity (65.5%). However, there was a marginal improvement though not significant (p ≥ 0.05) in the CD4
counts (489.8 ± 195.2; 419.1 ± 236.2) and viral load (5117.8 ± 26092.0; 31136.7 ± 197954.6) of HIV patients on herbal
drugs compared to those who are not on herbal drugs. Herbal medicines have potentials to interact with ARVs and thus
result in adverse reactions and possibly therapeutic failure. There is need for thorough investigation of the
pharmacological action of these herbal medicines in HIV treatment taking into consideration their pharmacokinetic and
Keywords: HIV, complementary herbal medicine, antiretroviral drugs, lagos, adverse effects, viral load, drug interaction.
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Published on: 16 July, 2012
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