Herbal Supplements/Meds Not That Dangerous a Mix

Study says most interactions are not serious

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

TUESDAY, March 23, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Most potential interactions between drugs and dietary supplements are not serious, says a University of Pittsburgh study in the March 22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In recent years, more and more people have started using dietary supplements to treat health and physical problems. The use of dietary supplements, also called herbal supplements, is common among people taking prescription drugs. Concerns have been raised about possible dangerous interactions.

This study of 458 outpatients visiting general medicine clinics at two Veterans Affairs medical centers in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles found that drug-dietary supplement interactions were not serious in 94 percent of the patient population studied.

During the study, the patients were asked about their dietary supplement use. Researchers cross-referenced that with information about the patients' prescription drug use. Potential interactions were identified from medical searches and other sources.

"This is encouraging news for the millions of patients currently taking prescription medications along with dietary supplements. However, limited information and drug-dietary interactions exists and health-care providers should continue to inquire about dietary supplement use and consider the potential for interactions," Lauren E. Trilli, an assistant professor in the department of pharmacy and therapeutics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, says in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about herbal health products.

SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, news release, March 22, 2004

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