Many hospital patients not asked about supplements: study

June 24, 2015
Many hospital patients not asked about supplements: study
This raises risk of harmful drug interactions.

(HealthDay)—Most hospitalized Americans aren't asked if they take dietary supplements, such as multivitamins, a new study suggests.

"If clinicians are unaware of possible drug-[] reactions, they may unknowingly provide a treatment plan or prescribe medications that could have an adverse reaction or interactions with the dietary supplement," said study author Dr. Paula Gardiner.

She is assistant director of Boston Medical Center's program for integrative medicine and .

"Dietary also affect physiological processes in the body and could have an impact on medical procedures like surgery, chemotherapy, blood work and many other treatments or procedures," she added in a medical center news release.

Nearly 18 percent of American adults (more than 40 million) take dietary supplements, according to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey.

The most commonly used dietary supplements are vitamins and minerals, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. But other supplements may include herbs, amino acids or other substances, the study authors pointed out.

The study, published recently in the journal Patient Education and Counseling, looked at 558 hospital patients, more than half of whom (60 percent) used dietary supplements.

Of those 333 patients, only 36 percent had use of supplements documented at admission to the hospital. Only 18 percent told a provider about their dietary supplement use, and only one in five were asked about dietary supplement use by a , the study found.

The ideal scenario is to be asked at admission about dietary supplement use, to disclose use of the products, and have their use documented in medical records. But all three criteria were met for only 6 percent of the supplement users, the researchers found.

Documentation of dietary supplement use on medical charts was lower among older patients and non-white patients, the researchers said.

"Research has shown that some of the reasons patients do not disclose [dietary supplement] use is because they either don't know that physicians need the information, or sometimes there's a fear of being judged by a clinician," Gardiner said.

"Medical school faculty have the opportunity, and in fact the obligation, to educate tomorrow's physicians about the importance of [dietary supplement] dialogue with of all ages and cultural backgrounds," she said.

Doctors need to establish a formalized approach to documentation to help prevent adverse reactions from dietary supplement-prescription medication interactions, Gardiner concluded.

Explore further: BMC finds adults do not report dietary supplement use to physicians

More information: The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about dietary supplements.

Related Stories

BMC finds adults do not report dietary supplement use to physicians

May 15, 2015
A Boston Medical Center researcher has found that some physicians are not asking all patients about their dietary supplement (DS) use, that some patients are not disclosing DS use to providers, and that medical documentation ...

FDA: Supplements, meds can be dangerous mix

November 4, 2014
(HealthDay)—Taking vitamins or other dietary supplements along with medication can be dangerous, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

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.

Doctor-patient communication about dietary supplements could use a vitamin boost

July 1, 2013
Vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements are widely available in supermarkets and drug stores across the nation without a prescription, so it's no surprise that nearly half of all Americans take them.

NIH launches Dietary Supplement Label Database

June 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 Database, free ...

Dietary supplement use among US adults more prevalent than previously thought

April 14, 2014
Dietary supplement use by U.S. adults is more prevalent than indicated by published data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), according to a new article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the ...

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

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.