The popularity of taking dietary and herbal supplements is growing. Now, a new online tool can help consumers understand how taking supplements could affect their medication.
The information, hosted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, includes a short quiz where individuals can test their current understanding of drug-supplement interactions. The resource also discusses some of the risks associated with taking supplements and medicine together, including a supplement's ability to alter the effectiveness of certain drugs and to increase the severity of medication side-effects.
Information for All Herbal and Dietary Supplement Consumers
Specific topics for individual circumstances, tips on reading supplement labels, what you need to know about narrow therapeutic range medication, and taking supplements before surgery are also discussed.
The free resource also addresses risks of combining medicine with herbal products like St. John's wort and goldenseal, which are growing in popularity. Believing that natural supplements like these are completely safe without the risk of side effects is a misunderstanding which could lead to harmful side-effects.
The potential for capabilities, interactions, and adverse reactions are different for each supplement, and in blended cases, for each supplement's ingredients. Unfortunately, it is up to the consumer to learn this information for themselves in a heavily advertised market known to promote benefits, verified or assumed, while ignoring risks.
Herbal and Dietary Supplement Information by NCCIH
The resource from NCCIH notes supplement interactions may occur with both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and to discuss any supplements you are taking by bringing the product and its packaging, including its label, to your doctor or qualified health care provider.
Learn More About Drug-Supplement Interactions through NCCIH
Test your knowledge and learn more about drug-supplement interactions on NCCIH's secure website at https://nccih.nih.gov/health/herbs/understanding-interactions