CAM InteractionsEchinaceaHIV/AIDS

Does Echinacea interact with HIV drugs?

Not much, according to researchers in Spain.

First, the details.

  • 15 HIV-infected adults receiving antiretroviral therapy including darunavir/ritonavir (Prezista/Norvir) (600/100 mg twice daily) for at least 4 weeks were studied.
  • Echinacea purpurea root extract capsules were added to the antiretroviral treatment (500 mg every 6 hours) from days 1 to 14.
    • Antiretroviral treatment involves the use of drugs to treat viruses, usually HIV/AIDS.
  • Darunavir blood concentrations were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography immediately before and during treatment.
  • Darunavir pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated and compared between days 0 and 14.

And, the results.

  • Although not affecting overall darunavir or ritonavir pharmacokinetics, individual patients did show a decrease in darunavir concentrations.
  • Echinacea was well tolerated and everybody completed the study.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Although no dose adjustment is required, monitoring darunavir concentrations on an individual basis may give re-assurance in this setting.”

The study is important because it provides evidence in patients, rather than in animals or in the lab.

In Spain, about 1 in 5 HIV patients take Echinacea.

11/20/10 21:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.