Some Supplements & Prescription Combinations May Cause Harmful Interactions

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Taking vitamin supplements along with prescription medicines can be dangerous. You have to know what does and doesn’t work together.

But it’s not always easy to figure it which combinations can lead to harmful interactions.

We take $300 billion worth of prescription drugs a year and another $26 billion worth of dietary supplements. Consumer Reports Medical Advisor Dr. Orly Avitzur says combining the two may be hazardous to your health.

“Some supplements can change the effectiveness of certain prescription drugs, and some can increase the likelihood and severity of side effects,” said Dr. Avitzur.

For example, glucosamine can interact with the blood thinner, Warfarin, and may increase the risk of bleeding. St. John’s Wort can lower the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

Also, if you regularly take the supplement Red Yeast Rice along with Lipitor or another prescription cholesterol drug, it may increase your risk of kidney or liver damage over time. Read more at this link.

“Ideally, when getting a prescription, you should talk to your pharmacist about any supplements you’re taking and see if there is a problem combining them,” Dr. Avitzur said.

When Consumer Reports sent anonymous shoppers into 20 pharmacies in five states to ask whether there was a potential problem taking Lipitor with Red Yeast Rice, many pharmacists didn’t know.

“In 12 of the 20 times, pharmacists gave us incorrect or fuzzy advice,” said Consumer Reports’ Tod Marks. “On two occasions, they actually recommended taking the combination.”

Experts say you should also consult with your doctor before taking any dietary supplements along with your prescription drugs.

Consumer Reports has put together a list of nine top-selling herbal supplements and some common drugs that may interact with them.

RELATED LINKS:
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports: “Beware of risky herb-drug combos”
More Consumer Reports Stories
More Consumer News

Comments

One Comment

  1. Hype? says:

    Scary Story!!!!!! They said 2 pharmacists weren’t sure about mixing prescriptions…..we’re not going to die

    1. PS says:

      Pharmacists are trained in school to look up information that they may not be 100% sure about. There are thousands of medications and herbals out there to know. All pharmacists are held to this standard, and it is unfortunate that some pharmacists may neglect the duty they uphold to protect and serve patients.

      It is important to remember that pharmacists keep us safe by making sure each and every medication is in the best interest for each and every patient. They are a very important part of our health care system.

  2. JUST SAY NO WAY says:

    I LAUGH AT THE COMMERCIALS FOR ANXIETY DRUGS THAT SAY IF YOU START FEELING LIKE COMMITTING SUICIDE STOP TAKING THIS, AND A WEEK LATER EDGAR SNYDER COMES ON SAYING THEIR LAW FIRM IS SUING ON BEHALF OF PEOPLE HURTING THEMSELVES AFTER TAKING THIS DRUG.
    HOW IRRESPONSIBLE TO EVEN PRODUCE A DRUG THAT MIGHT MAKE YOU FEEL THIS WAY . JUST SAY NO AND HAVE A GREAT DAY.

  3. Ian says:

    This wouldn’t even be a story If over-medicated America would wake up and realize they need to get out of the house, excersize and eat right, they wouldn’t be so dependent on doctors and pharmacists. The problem is people in this country that are being outright LAZY. What PEOPLE need is some self control. All I see everyday is people stuffin their faces with junk food, 300 pound people walking out of McDonalds with oversized cups and parents allowing their children to eat whatever they want when they want.
    IT’S ABOUT WHAT WE EAT!!! You people are feeding the pharmacudical monster as well as yourselves, the suicidal Big Mac!!!

    1. med says:

      Ian, you need to do research before you talk. Your saying that its ALL ABOUT WHAT WE EAT!!!! Yeah some people do need to eat better and exercise. But with some diseases its not what they eat, cholesterol and diabetes are also inherited. And if peole are on warfarin, their probaly on that because they had a blood clot which any one can get and its not about diet or exercise to prevent those. Your talking about lazy people feeding the pharmacudical monster, well I’ll tell you some people need too in order to stay alive. A parently you never had anyone you love needed to be on meds to stay alive and exercise and dieting have nothing to do with that. This artical was warning people that taking Herbal meds and vitamins,which they think because are natrual can’t be harmful with mixing prescription meds can be harmful. Not about people being lazy.

      1. Dave says:

        You are right to a point. There are some diseases where you absolutely need medication but the problem is Doctors won’t tell patients that they really don’t need most medications that the Doctors hand out. Also part of that blame should be on the people for not knowing they don’t need those medications.

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