Are Dietary Supplements Interacting with Medications or Medical Conditions?

Combining dietary supplements and medications can have dangerous and even fatal effects. Dietary supplements are products manufactured to provide the body with the nutrients it lacks, according to Walls. These supplements can interfere with the prescription medications you're taking, he says. Chemical interactions can be minor or dangerous, weakening your medications and making them less effective, or they can make your prescriptions more powerful.

One of the main concerns about the safety of the ingredients of dietary supplements is that interactions between a supplement and other substances ingested (e.g., medications) can lead to adverse clinical outcomes. This is because a dietary supplement can reduce the effective concentration of a drug, which can have serious consequences for people whose health depends on the therapeutic effects of a drug. For example, patients with AIDS must maintain a therapeutic level of antiviral activity, patients with cancer must maintain an effective concentration of chemotherapy agents, those who receive organ transplants must maintain a therapeutic level of immunosuppressants, and those with hypertension must maintain effective levels of antihypertensive drugs. On the contrary, interactions can raise the level of a drug (or that of the dietary supplement's own ingredient) above the therapeutic range, which can cause toxic effects. If you're going to have a surgical procedure, be sure to talk to your doctor beforehand about the vitamins and herbal supplements you're taking, including common supplements that you might consider harmless.

Some conditions, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and pancreatic disorders, can cause poor absorption of vitamin A from the diet. In vitro studies and other approaches have focused on determining which drugs affect metabolizing enzymes and transporters and, similarly, could be used to determine which dietary supplements may cause interactions. Patients taking iron supplements or multivitamins containing iron should be instructed to avoid taking their supplement within two hours of receiving a dose of tetracycline or fluoroquinolone antibiotics, digoxin, or levothyroxine. Examples of pharmacodynamic interactions have been observed with ingredients in dietary supplements. It is intended for general information purposes and is not intended to replace the advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a professional doctor. In addition, pharmacists should encourage software providers and employers to include fields in their profile systems for over-the-counter drugs and supplements, as these products can affect care and cause easily avoidable drug interactions that could put the patient at risk of poor outcomes or adverse effects. Unfortunately, there isn't enough clinical evidence to know exactly how these supplements interact with all medications or with each other.

When considering the safety of the ingredients in dietary supplements, tests to detect xenobiotic alterations in enzyme metabolism can generate important signs of potential concern. For statin-based cholesterol medications, including those sold under brand names such as Lipitor, Mevacor and Zocor, grapefruit and pomegranate can be a dangerous combination. Tell your doctor if you are using these supplements together with prescription medications so that they can monitor you closely. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Pharmacists should recommend folic acid supplementation to patients who are prescribed methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis, especially if there are adverse effects or toxicities such as abnormalities in blood cell counts and varying degrees of mucositis and diarrhea. If the affected medication is to be taken chronically and the supplement is considered necessary, the pharmacist should work with the patient and prescriber to suggest alternatives that limit exposure to potentially dangerous drug interactions. The problems that result from taking supplements and medications together can be especially dangerous if you are going through surgery or if your prescription has a “narrow therapeutic range”.It is important for individuals to understand how dietary supplements may interact with medications they are taking or medical conditions they may have.

It is essential for individuals to consult their doctor before taking any dietary supplement in order to avoid any potential risks associated with drug interactions or medical conditions. It is also important for individuals to be aware that some dietary supplements may interact with certain medications or medical conditions in ways that are not yet known. Therefore it is important for individuals to discuss any potential risks associated with taking dietary supplements with their doctor before starting any new supplement regimen. In conclusion, it is essential for individuals to understand how dietary supplements may interact with medications they are taking or medical conditions they may have in order to avoid any potential risks associated with drug interactions or medical conditions.

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