It is not uncommon seeing patients taking orthodox and herbal remedies concurrently for the same disease. The concern of many health practitioners is the safety of such combination therapy especially when there is a possibility of adverse drug reaction as a result of drug-drug interaction. This study focussed on drug interactions of α-Zam (herbal antiretroviral drug) when combined with lamivudine, zidovudine and nevirapine (highly active anti-retroviral therapy) using an animal model. Wistar rats were divided into 5 groups (10 rats per group) and were administered with 400 mg/kg (α-Zam), 800 mg/kg (α-Zam), 400 mg/kg (α-Zam) +HAART, 800 mg/kg (α-Zam) +HAART and normal saline. All administration was done once daily orally via canula to the 4 different groups respectively with the 5th group as control for 6 days. All wistar rats in all groups were observed daily for change in behaviour. On the 7th day, all rats were bled via retro-orbital plexus under light diethyl ether anaesthesia. The blood samples were analysed for haematological (haemoglobin concentration, white blood cell, red blood cell, platelet and lymphocyte counts) and biochemical (electrolytes, urea, creatinine, lipid profile, liver and renal functions tests) parameters. Some organs were also harvested for histological examinations. There was neither mortality nor behavioural abnormality observed in all the drug administered rats. There were some mild atrophic changes in liver and kidney with hyper-cellularity of bone marrow but no statistically significant difference (P>0.05) were found in all blood (haematological and biochemical) parameters in rat groups administered combination therapy (herbal concoction+ HAART). It was concluded that the combined administration of α-zam and HAART (lamivudine, zidovudine and nevirapine) did not cause any significant adverse drug reaction. Rather beneficial effects were observed in amelioration of side-effects associated with the herbal concoction and orthodox anti-viral medicines.
Key words: Combination therapy, HAART, α-Zam herbal remedy.
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