Why is this important?
July is Herbal / Prescription Interaction Awareness Month, and this is a topic very near and dear to all of us here at ModiHealth. Often people do not fully understand the importance of treating natural remedies, vitamin and herbal supplements with the same level of care and caution as they would a prescription drug. These natural elements have big impact. This is why they can often be taken instead of pharmaceutical drugs and medications. But it also means that their big impact can also have negative implications. Natural alternatives can also cause side effects, and other negative factors especially if improper doses are taken OR if they are taken with certain medications.
According to the FDA, ‘Research has shown that 50 percent or more of American adults use dietary supplements on a regular basis, according to congressional testimony by the Office of Dietary Supplements in the National Institutes of Health. The law defines dietary supplements in part as products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient.” Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet’.
Did you know that some natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplements can have a negative interaction with prescription medications? They can even render some ineffective! This is why it is so important to be fully informed about what you are putting into your body and how it can affect you. Here are the top ways to be properly informed about what is best for you, your body and the potential risks for combining certain medications you are taking with natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplements:
- Ask your primary care doctor (and any specialists who have prescribed medications to you)
- Read ALL labels on your medications and natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplement containers
- Research – look up potential interactions
- Speak to your pharmacist and ask if any natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplements may interfere with the medications you are taking
- Take all medication and natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplements ONLY as directed
- Always tell ALL of your healthcare providers the full list of medications that you take AS WELL AS ALL of the natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplement that you take
- Get natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplement recommendations from a functional, natural or holistic doctor
What are some of the common Herbal / Prescription Interactions?
While we HIGHLY recommend looking up each and every supplement and drug you take to thoroughly research the potential risks, here are a few common ones to be on the lookout for:
|Prescription drug||Natural remedies, vitamins and herbal supplement||Negative interaction|
|Blood-thinning medication like Coumadin
|Increase anti-clotting activity and may cause an increased risk of bleeding
|heparin, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen.
|Ginseng can enhance the bleeding effects these medications have
|Tegretol, Equetro or Carbatrol (carbamazepine), and Depakote (valproic acid)
|Ginkgo||Decrease the effectiveness of anticonvulsant therapy
|Many medications!||St. John’s Wort
|Can reduce the concentration of medications in the blood as well as cause serotonin syndrome when taken with SSRI’s
|Birth Control Pills||Vitamin C||Mega dosing Vitamin C may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills|
|Antidepressants||Vitamin K||May decrease absorption
Love to research? Here are some supporting articles as well as fuller lists of potential interactions: