Can I mix prescription drugs and supplements?

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B sup...

Can I take my supplement and prescription drug together?

Yesterday’s issue of Nutraceuticals World poses an interesting question, “Can a person take dietary supplements and prescription drugs together”

As a pharmacist, this is a very valid question. And, as one would expect, the answer is “It depends.” The primary challenge is that dietary supplements rarely have extensive clinical trials. For many supplements, we simply do not know how they work, or what the active ingredient(s) might be. We know this because we perform a lot of our own research before selecting dietary supplements for our shop.

Let’s look at some scenarios and examples, based on products that we carry:

Fiber Supplements – We carry a great fiber supplement that works very well for constipation and hemorrhoids. Can this interact with medications? Not directly, but diabetics should note that fiber can add to the blood sugar reducing effects of oral diabetes medications, and also insulin. It’s unlikely that the small amounts in our product would have this effect, but those who are battling severe diabetes should check with their physicians before trying any fiber product.

Curcumin Turmeric – In theory, curcumin could enhance the effect of anti-coagulants, such as low dose aspirin, or platelet inhibitors. This is a theoretical concern. But again, it’s worthwhile consulting your physician before adding a curcumin supplement to your routine if you are already taking a prescription anti-coagulant.

Fish OilFish oil supplements have a wide range of beneficial health effects, including cardiovascular health, mental health, joint and inflammatory health, and others. However, in large megadoses, fish oil can also enhance the effect of oral anti-coagulants such as warfarin.

Glucosamine – As with curcumin, there is a theoretical concern that glucosamine could enhace the effect of anti-coagulants such as warfarin and heparin.

Can your supplement interact with your prescription medication? Ask your doctor, or better still, send us an email! We can try to check that for you.