Herbal Fixed Dose Combinations in Nepal: Growing Concerns in a Developing Country FM01-FM03
Dr. Arjun Poudel,
Research Associate, School of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology,
Q Block (Level 9), Brisbane, QLD 4000.
Herbal medicines are mostly prepared as a combination therapy that has been used since therapeutic was first practiced. Combination products, also known as Fixed Dose Combinations (FDCs) of herbal remedies are in widespread use in Nepal. Herbal FDCs are in common practice because it is believed to have better adherence, less side effects and easy accessibility. Nevertheless, combination products possess greater risk of adverse effects, increases costs associated with treatments and leads to an ineffective dosages. Herbal FDCs are used extensively in Nepal although the rationality beyond the use of these combinations is still unidentified and at times are questionable. Legislations governing the use of herbal medicines is lacking in Nepal. Many herbal FDCs are not supported by any scientific data and test for the presence of ingredients mentioned in the package insert/container label is always difficult. A FDC of herbal products must be based on clear criteria that guarantee consumer safety and appropriate indications. These criteria helps to protect the consumers or patients from the misleading claims and risk associated with the use of unjustifiable combination of herbal substances. Strict monitoring from the regulatory body and the public awareness on the cost as well as advantages and disadvantages of herbal FDCs is urgently required.