Many surgical patients don't know that it's advisable to stop taking complementary and alternative medicine at least one to three weeks prior to surgery. During Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 13-19, 2016, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is reminding patients to bring a list of all medications - prescription or not - to their pre-anesthesia interview, and to share details about their medication use with their Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) or other anesthesia professional.
Complementary or alternative medicines can include, but are not limited to, echinacea, St. John's Wort, ginger, gingko biloba, kava, and others. Patients may not realize that by withholding this type of information, they could put their lives in danger.
"Complementary or alternative medications taken too close to surgery can raise the risk of excessive bleeding, a dangerous lowering or raising of blood pressure, and other adverse events," said Juan Quintana, DNP, MHS, CRNA, AANA president. "It is very important that, prior to surgery, patients disclose to their CRNA which medications they are taking so that every precaution can be taken for their safety during the operation."
AANA urges all patients to make a list of their current prescription and non-prescription medications, including dosage, frequency taken, the name of the prescriber, and how long they've been taking each medication.
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)