FDA: Supplements, meds can be dangerous mix

November 4, 2014
FDA: supplements, meds can be dangerous mix
Combination can alter drug absorption, agency warns.

(HealthDay)—Taking vitamins or other dietary supplements along with medication can be dangerous, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

Dietary can alter the absorption and metabolism of prescription and over-the-counter medications, the FDA said.

"Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of your medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it," Robert Mozersky, a medical officer at the FDA, explained in an agency news release.

For example, the supplement St. John's Wort can make less effective, the FDA reported. Both the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba and vitamin E can thin blood. Mixing either supplement with the prescription blood thinner warfarin or aspirin could increase the risk of internal bleeding or stroke, the report said.

Dietary supplements are widely used in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that roughly 72 million people in the United States who are on a also took some type of .

Although many people take supplements to make sure they get proper nutrition, the FDA said there is no substitute for eating a healthy diet, and products labeled as "natural" or "herbal" are not necessarily harmless.

"Natural does not always mean safe," Mozersky said. This is particularly true for children, he added.

"Parents should know that children's metabolisms are so unique, that at different ages they metabolize substances at different rates. For kids, ingesting dietary supplements together with other medications make adverse events a real possibility," Mozersky explained.

People planning to have surgery should inform their doctor of every medication and supplement they use. It may be necessary to stop taking supplements a few weeks before an operation to avoid potentially serious changes in heart rate, blood pressure or bleeding risk, the FDA said.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should also talk to their doctor about any supplements they take.

"The bottom line is, before you take any dietary supplement or medication—over-the-counter or prescription—discuss it with your health care professional," Mozersky said. The FDA added the following tips for consumers:

  • Every time you visit the doctor, bring a list of all the dietary supplements and medications you take. This list should include dosages and frequency.
  • Tell your doctor if your health has changed, including any recent illnesses, surgeries or other procedures. You should also tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Explore further: FDA warns consumers of dangers of the stimulant DMAA

More information: The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about the safe use of herbal supplements.

Related Stories

FDA warns consumers of dangers of the stimulant DMAA

April 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 with these ...

Cancer patients should not hesitate to speak with their doctors about dietary supplements

October 22, 2014
Many cancer patients use dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals and herbs or other botanicals but often don't tell their doctor.

Study finds high percentage of recalled dietary supplements still have banned ingredients

October 21, 2014
About two-thirds of FDA recalled dietary supplements analyzed still contained banned drugs at least 6 months after being recalled, according to a study in the October 22/29 issue of JAMA.

Steer clear of dietary supplements for concussions: FDA

August 27, 2014
(HealthDay)— As the fall sports season starts and young players face the risk of concussions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that dietary supplements that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions are untested, ...

Liver injury caused by herbals, dietary supplements rises in study population

September 4, 2014
New research shows that liver injury caused by herbals and dietary supplements increased from 7% to 20% in a U.S. study group over a ten-year period. According to the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the American ...

Nutritionist offers advice on vitamins, dietary supplements

June 13, 2014
Before taking a daily vitamin or dietary supplement, you might want to think about what you're really consuming, says a Kansas State University human nutritionist.

Recommended for you

Omega 3 supplements have little or no heart or vascular health benefit: review

July 17, 2018
New evidence published today shows there is little or no effect of omega 3 supplements on our risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke or death.

Study shows that people most affected by alcohol also most impacted by sleep deprivation

July 17, 2018
A team of researchers from the German Aerospace Center and Forschungszentrum Jülich has found that people who are most susceptible to alcohol intoxication are also most susceptible to cognitive problems due to sleep deprivation. ...

As we get parched, cognition can easily sputter, dehydration study says

July 17, 2018
Anyone lost in a desert hallucinating mirages knows that extreme dehydration discombobulates the mind. But just two hours of vigorous yard work in the summer sun without drinking fluids could be enough to blunt concentration, ...

Jury still out on probiotics

July 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Probiotics have become a trendy dietary supplement, with more and more people popping bacteria-laden capsules to try to improve their gut health.

Self-control and obesity: Gender matters in children

July 16, 2018
A toddler's self-regulation—the ability to change behavior in different social situations—may predict whether he or she will be obese come kindergarten, but the connection appears to be much different for girls than for ...

1 in 9 U.S. adults over 45 reports memory problems

July 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—If you're middle-aged and you think you're losing your memory, you're not alone, a new U.S. government report shows.

0 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.