Many older people take prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and also vitamin or mineral supplements.
They may be not aware of the danger of mixing medications and dietary supplements.
According to Robert Mozersky, a medical officer at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mixing the two things may lead to harmful interactions.
Dietary supplements are widely used and include vitamins, minerals, and other less familiar substances, such as herbals, botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes.
Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it.
This is because they can change absorption, metabolism, or excretion of a drug and therefore affect its effectiveness.
The mixture can make patients too much or too little of a medication they need.
The researcher gives several examples of dangerous interactions between drugs and supplements:
Drugs for heart disease, depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth control pills can be less effective when used with St. John’s Wort, an herbal supplement.
Warfarin (a prescription blood thinner), ginkgo biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin and vitamin E (a supplement) can all thin the blood.
If patients take these things together, their risk of internal bleeding or stroke can be higher.
For people need to do a surgery, some dietary supplements can interact in a harmful way with medications people need to take before, after, or during that surgery.
These people may need to stop taking dietary supplements two or three weeks before the procedure.
It is also important to know that children could be harmed by taking both supplements and medicines.
Children’s metabolisms are unique and at different ages, they metabolize substances at different rates.
Scientists suggest that dietary supplements should not be used as a substitute for eating a healthy, balanced diet.
It may be necessary to discuss with doctors before taking any dietary supplement or medication.
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