Many docs don't discuss dietary supplements, study says

Many docs don't discuss dietary supplements, study says
Patients need to know more about risks, effectiveness and interactions with conventional drugs.

(HealthDay)—Doctors do a poor job of providing patients with information about vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements, a new study says.

It's an important issue because so many people take these products, which carry risks—including potentially harmful interactions with —and some patients take dietary supplements in place of conventional medicines, the researchers said.

They analyzed transcripts of audio recordings made during office visits by nearly 1,500 patients to 102 primary-care doctors between 1998 and 2010. Of those patients, about 350 had discussions about more than 700 dietary supplements, according to the study, which was published recently in the journal Patient Education and Counseling.

"This is the first study to look at the actual content of conversations about dietary supplements in a primary-care setting," study primary investigator Dr. Derjung Tarn, an assistant professor of at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a university news release.

"The bottom line was that discussions about meaningful topics such as risks, effectiveness and costs that might inform patient decisions about taking dietary supplements were sparse," Tarn said.

The researchers focused on five major topics related to dietary supplements: the reason for taking them, how to take them, potential risks, effectiveness and cost or affordability.

On average, fewer than two of the topics were discussed during the office visits. All five topics were covered during discussions of only six of the more than 700 supplements. None of the topics arose for nearly 300 of the supplements patients told their doctors they were taking.

The researchers did find that discussions about herbal and related supplements were more thorough than those about vitamins and minerals. This is important because herbal and related supplements are more likely to have potentially harmful interactions with conventional medicines.

Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. National Institutes of Health suggest that patients consult with their doctors before starting to take , the researchers noted.

More information: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about dietary supplements.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NIH launches Dietary Supplement Label Database

Jun 18, 2013

Researchers, as well as health care providers and consumers, can now see the ingredients listed on the labels of about 17,000 dietary supplements by looking them up on a website. The Dietary Supplement Label ...

FDA warns consumers of dangers of the stimulant DMAA

Apr 15, 2013

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is attempting to halt distribution of dietary supplements that contain the stimulant dimethylamylamine (DMAA), following reports of illness and death associated ...

FDA seizes illegal dietary supplements in Florida

Feb 14, 2013

(AP)—The Food and Drug Administration says U.S. marshals have seized illegal dietary supplements from a Florida company because some may contain a dangerous pharmaceutical ingredient.

Recommended for you

Pot-infused edibles: One toke over the line in Colorado?

1 hour ago

Marijuana shops have sprouted across Denver ever since Colorado legalized the drug for adults in January, but the popularity of pot-infused edibles has surprised authorities, and parents are seeking a ban ahead of Halloween.

US sues Gerber over claims on infant formula

3 hours ago

US government regulators announced Thursday they were suing Gerber, the well-known baby food maker, for claiming that its Good Start Gentle formula can prevent or reduce allergies in children.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.