Muslims taking medication need to be careful if they are planning to fast during Ramadan, a study says.
A Moroccan study found many Muslims on medicine fast even though they are permitted not to under Islamic rules.It also said a majority change their treatment during Ramadan, which begins on 15 October, often putting themselves at risk by not talking to GPs first.But British Muslim leaders said it was less of a problem in the UK as schools and GPs were more aware of the issue.Muslims are required to abstain from eating or drinking, which includes oral drugs, from dawn to sunset during the holy month.Children, the elderly, breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women and those who are ill are exempt.DosesThe team from the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Casablanca surveyed 81 patients and found 58% of patients taking part in Ramadan changed their medication programme.The majority stopped taking medication altogether with a few changing their doses or the times they took their medicine.They also analysed research carried out in other areas. I think most people in the UK are sensible about fasting, they only do it if they are healthy and I think if you are taking medication you will be classed as not healthyJamil Sherif, of the Muslim Council of BritainIn Kuwait, two thirds of 325 patients taking part in Ramadan changed their treatment with one in five taking their daily medicines in a single dose. An Iranian study also revealed that, of 124 people with epilepsy, 27 suffered a seizure during Ramadan. Twenty of those were not taking antiepileptic drugs during daylight hours.The report said doctors and scientists in the Muslim world should be encouraged to follow up their patients during Ramadan to make sure they were using medication correctly.It also said more research was needed to see if treatment could be modified during Ramadan.MedicineWriting in the British Medical Journal, the authors warned: “Patients arbitrarily modify the times of doses, the number of doses, the time span between doses and even the total daily dosage of drugs during the month of Ramadan, often without seeking medical advice.”They said this behaviour could alter the activity of drugs in the body, which could lead to failures in medicine and harmful to the patient. (Source: British Medical Journal: BBC News: October 2004.)