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Abstract

THE IMPACT OF HERBAL MEDICINES USE IN PATIENTS UNDER HIGHLY ACTIVE ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY IN RWANDA

Josiane Kabayundo, Raymond Muganga, Fabrice Humura, Derrick Barry Abila, Alumuku Iordepuun Micheal

Background: Herbal medicine is widely used in many developing countries and its use is increasingly popular in western
world. However, information regarding the extent of herbal medicine use among people living with HIV under highly active
antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is limited in most settings in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed to assess possible effects
caused by concomitant use of antiretroviral drugs with herbal medicines and determine the frequently used plants among
patients on antiretroviral therapy at Rango Health Center in Huye, the southern part of Rwanda.
Methods: A sample of 196 participants enrolled in HAART at Rango Health Center were selected using a simple random
sampling. Using questionnaires, information that assessed exposures to herbal medicines before initiating antiretroviral
therapy and while taking antiretrovirals were collected from consented participants. Data collected were analysed using
SPSS v.16.
Results: The study showed that 68.36% (n=134) used herbal medicines either before or after starting antiretroviral therapy.
The most used plant by our respondents was Tetradenia riparia (Umuravumba) at 24.76%, while 6.71% of all participants
who have used traditional medicines reported undesirable adverse effects. The main adverse effects experienced were gastric
irritation, severe nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. It is important to note that 85.93% of participants who used herbal
medicines alongside antiretroviral drugs reported disease improvement.
Conclusion: The prevalence of herbal medicine use among our respondents on HAART was high. This is of clinical and
pharmacological concerns; hence, the possibility of treatment change due to poor adherence because of the exacerbation of
Antiretrovirals (ARVs) side effects.
 


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