Dietary supplements have been gaining widespread popularity to treat a myriad of health conditions and physical complaints. However, the extent of this use along with prescription medications is widely unknown or underreported by primary care physicians.
The Pitt researchers sought to explore both the incidence and severity of potential interactions between prescription medications and dietary supplements and found that most of the interactions approximately 94 percent of the patient population studied were not serious, based on limited available evidence.
"This is encouraging news for the millions of patients currently taking prescription medications along with dietary supplements. However, limited information on drug-dietary interactions exists and health care providers should continue to inquire about dietary supplement use and consider the potential for interactions, regardless of their severity," says Lauren E. Trilli, PharmD., B.C.P.S., assistant professor, department of pharmacy and therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and a clinical pharmacy specialist at the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System.
The researchers surveyed 458 outpatients visiting general medicine clinics at two veterans affairs medical centers located in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Because herbal supplements are more frequently used in the western half of the United States, the researchers sought to sample one VA health care system on the West Coast and compare results with a VA health care system on the East Coast.
The survey participants were asked whether they have ever taken in the past, or were c
Contact: Maureen McGaffin
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center