Tags: drug | supplement | interact

How to Safely mix Drugs, Supplements

Thursday, 03 May 2012 12:22 PM

Herbal and nutritional supplements can be beneficial and are taken by millions of people, but they can cause harmful and even life-threatening effects when combined with drugs, new research warns.
That’s why consumers who take supplements, and their doctors, need to be aware of the dangers of mixing prescriptions and non-traditional remedies and discuss them openly, according to a report published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
“ ‘Natural' does not equal 'safe,’ and the effects and interactions of herbal or dietary supplements and functional foods such as energy drinks or nutritional bars can be difficult to predict,” noted Catherine Ulbricht, co-founder of Natural Standard Research Collaboration and a pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital. "If something has a therapeutic action in a human body, this substance can also cause a reaction or an interaction."
The dangers are greatest in younger and older people and in individuals with multiple health conditions or who take multiple medications, said Ulbricht in the article "What Every Clinician Should Know About Herb–Supplement–Drug Interactions."
Among the most common examples of drug-supplement interactions she noted: an increased risk of significant bleeding associated with garlic, ginkgo, ginger, and saw palmetto supplements; decreased blood sugar as a result of chromium, cinnamon, whey protein, and others; hormonal effects of dong quai, black cohosh, kudzu, and saw palmetto; and elevated blood pressure caused by bloodroot, green tea, hawthorn, and maté.
Alternative and Complementary Therapies is a bimonthly journal that publishes original articles, reviews, and commentaries evaluating alternative therapies and how they can be integrated into clinical practice.

© HealthDay

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Patients and doctors need to be aware of potentially risky interactions of meds, alternative treatments.
Thursday, 03 May 2012 12:22 PM
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