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When Pouya Jamshidi, a resident at Weill Cornell Medical College, delivered his first baby, the doctor on call told him to take the newborn away from its mother.

The baby, a healthy girl with mocha-pink skin and a powerful set of lungs, was being quarantined.

In the middle of the pregnancy, her mother had come down with tuberculosis. She’d contracted the contagious lung infection in her teens, and the illness came back despite preventative antibiotics and regular screenings. The cause: a popular herbal supplement called St. John’s wort.

“The trouble is most people don’t consider it a medication because you don’t need a prescription for it, and so she didn’t tell us,” Jamshidi told Business Insider.

St. John’s wort is one of the most popular herbal supplements sold in the United States. But in 2000, the National Institutes of Health published a study showing that St. John’s wort could severely curb the effectiveness of several important pharmaceutical drugs — including antibiotics, birth control, and antiretrovirals for infections like HIV — by speeding up their breakdown in the body.

“It basically overmetabolized the antibiotics so they weren’t in her system in the correct dose,” Jamshidi said.

The findings on St. John’s wort prompted the US Food …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Finance

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