Pregnancy Use

Devil's claw is not recommended in pregnancy, as it has exhibited oxytocic activity in animals.

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Devil's claw reduces pain and inflammation and is a useful treatment in arthritis and back pain, according to controlled studies.

• The anti-inflammatory action appears to be different to that of NSAIDs and has not been fully elucidated. There is also preliminary evidence of a chondroprotective effect.

• Preliminary research suggests that it is best to take devil's claw between meals, on an empty stomach.

• Devil's claw appears to be relatively safe but should not be used in pregnancy and should be used with caution in peoplewith ulcers or gall stones or in those taking warfarin.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Devil's claw is a useful treatment for arthritis and back pain. It may also increase appetite and improve digestion and dyspepsia.

When will it start to work?

Results from studies suggest that pain-relieving effects will start within 4-12 weeks. Are there any safety issues?

Devil's claw should be used cautiously by people with gallstones, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers and those taking the drug warfarin. It is also not recommended in pregnancy.

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