Raymond J Mullins
A woman with atopy experienced anaphylaxis after taking, among other dietary supplements, a commercial extract of echinacea. Hypersensitivity was confirmed by skinprick and RAST testing. Regular ingestion of echinacea by up to 5% of surveyed patients with atopy, combined with detection of echinacea-binding IgE in atopic subjects (19% by skin testing; 20% with moderate to strong reactivity by RAST testing), raises the possibility of severe allergic reactions, even with first-time use, due to cross-reactivity with other structurally similar allergens. Patients with atopy should be cautioned about the risk of developing life-threatening reactions to complementary medicines, including echinacea.
MJA 1998; 168: 170-171
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