Certain dietary supplements can change the absorption, metabolism, or excretion of a drug. If that happens, it can affect the potency of the medicine, which means that you may take too much or too little of the medicine you need. Dietary supplements are products manufactured with the goal of providing the body with the nutrients it lacks, Walls explains. Supplements can interfere with the prescription medications you're taking, he says.
Chemical interactions can be minor or dangerous. They can weaken your medications and make them less effective, or they can make your prescriptions more powerful. You probably already know that certain medications don't mix and that supplements can have drug-related properties. Therefore, it makes sense that the mix of medications with vitamins and supplements should be handled with care.
St. John's Wort, a popular dietary supplement, can affect many medications, including some used to treat depression. Ultimately, if you are taking medications, you should check with your doctor before adding vitamins and supplements. If you take natural dietary supplements to supplement your diet or to alleviate the symptoms of conditions such as menopause or depression, you could be changing the way the medications you're taking work inside your body, says family nurse Alicia Walls, FNP.
First, he or she must determine the need for the supplement for as long as the medication will be taken. Pharmacists should recommend that all patients taking warfarin follow a consistent diet based on green leafy vegetables and to avoid the inconsistent use of supplements containing vitamin K (i). In fact, the FDA specifically warns that you should not double check before taking supplements with the drug, because of possible drug interactions, which could have dangerous and even fatal effects. They're safe for most people, but when taken with supplements or vitamins, the results can be risky.
However, many don't realize that vitamins and supplements can also affect prescription medications when mixed. Folic acid supplementation is generally recommended during treatment with methotrexate as a prophylaxis against toxicities in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. If you're already taking supplements, it's important to tell your provider so that they can tell you about any potential interactions and safety issues. Companies that produce vitamin supplements are not required to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration before selling their products, so it can be difficult to determine if they are safe or effective, even if they contain the exact ingredients listed.
Interactions between iron and omeprazole, which recently became available over-the-counter, may not be easily identified; therefore, pharmacists should ask patients about their consumption of omeprazole and iron supplements. To make sure your line of drugs, vitamins and supplements is safe, you need to know how they can interact. The problem is that certain supplements and vitamins can also thin the blood, causing too few platelets and contributing to bleeding and bruising.