Dr. Antoine Al-Achi
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
B.S., Pharmacy, Damascus University
M.Pharm., Hospital Pharmacy, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences
M.S., Radiopharmaceutical Sciences, Northeastern University
Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences/Pharmaceutics, Northeastern University
Location: Maddox Hall, Room 210
Dr. Antoine Al-Achi’s research interests are in the areas of pharmaceutical formulation, botanical/alternative medicine, and clinical research. More specifically, his research focuses mainly on investigating new delivery systems for human insulin, researching herbal pharmacology and their clinical applications, and Thromboelastography measurement during Cardiopulmonary Bypass in adult populations. He is also active in the compounding pharmacy and botanical medicine areas.
Becoming a first time book author was not what Antoine Al-Achi, MS, PhD, anticipated, but the unexpected happened when he won a book contract.
“I attended a conference for writers in the medical field and left with a book contract,” exclaimed the associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.
During the conference, a book proposal competition was held and to Al-Achi’s surprise, he won. Following the announcement, a publisher approached him with a contract for his winning proposal.
Studies indicate the number of people who seek complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy exceeds the number of patients who visit a primary physician. Through his research, Al-Achi was astonished to find such a large communication gap between health care professionals and consumers in regard to this multi-billion dollar unregulated industry with potential benefits and risks to consumers. This was the platform for his winning proposal and book, An Introduction to Botanical Medicines published in August 2008.
“There are two messages I would like individuals to derive from this book,” says Al-Achi. “One is to educate consumers on the use and benefits of botanical medicines and the other is to urge them to stay away from these medicines unless they consult a physician first.”
Studies show only one out of four patients communicates they are using botanicals to their physician. Patients do not share this information for numerous reasons including fear that their physician will laugh at them, the notion that doctors aren’t trained on the subject, and because herbals are natural substances approved by the FDA as dietary supplements.
Not sharing this information with a physician is a problem because without proper monitoring, herbal medicines can interact negatively or positively with prescription or over-the-counter drugs, Al-Achi explains.
In An Introduction to Botanical Medicines, Al-Achi details the potential misuse and the dangers of some herbal formulas for those who want to make educated decisions whether, and when, to use natural products, and how they can prevent, modify, or treat disease. He also utilizes his book to spread the message from pharmacists and health professionals to the public about how important it is to consult their doctors before beginning any form of herbal treatment.
“Natural does not mean harmless, herbals can potentially cause damage because they do interact with other drugs,” Al-Achi warns.
Now that his first book is published, Al-Achi has more time to spend on his other research interests including insulin delivery systems. In the future he plans to author additional books in his specialized areas of pharmaceutics and physical pharmacy.