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28 March, 2004

Just like there are a few, and I mean few (even less than foods we ingest), adverse reactions with natural health products, now the much bandied scare tactic of mixing supplements and drugs is also rapidly hitting the dust.

Of course this won't stop the propaganda machine in continuing to discredit the most innocuous and effective health remedies. Meanwhile, they still don't have much information, and couldn't careless about highly injurious drug to drug interactions - while the regulators pretend that they are looking after our interests by wasting their scant recourses, with our tax money, chasing the safest of all health foods and supplements!

See comments in body below also

Chris Gupta

Study: few problems occur mixing supplements and drugs

By LEE BOWMAN March 22, 2004

While drug interactions with dietary supplements are a concern, a new survey suggests that in most cases, mixing doesn't produce serious side effects.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System matched up a long list of herbal supplements and vitamins taken by veterans who also were using prescription drugs.

They reported Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine that 94 percent of the interactions that resulted did not lead to serious complications.

"This is encouraging news for the millions of patients currently taking prescription medications along with dietary supplements," said Lauren Trilli, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and a pharmacy specialist at the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System.

"However, limited information on drug-dietary interactions exists, and health-care providers should continue to inquire about dietary supplements and consider the potential for interactions, regardless of their severity," she added.

Dietary supplements, including herbs and vitamins, have been gaining popularity to deal with health conditions and physical complaints. But patients are typically reluctant to tell physicians that they are using them and interactions between supplements and prescription drugs are thought to be under reported. So are drug reactions due to fear of litigation and curruption - CG

The survey covered 458 patients visiting general medicine clinics at VA medical centers in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. The researchers sought to track use at a center on the West Coast because other studies have shown that supplement use is more common in the western half of the country.

The patients were asked whether they had taken in the past or were currently taking any of several supplements, including garlic, Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, melatonin, saw palmetto, St. John's wort, vitamins and others.

Then the scientists cross-referenced the use of those supplements with drugs prescribed through the VA, with potential interactions identified using medical searches.

All the patients in the survey were taking at least one prescription drug, with patients in Pittsburgh getting an average of seven oral prescriptions and those in Los Angeles, six.

Forty-three percent of the patients reported taking at least one dietary supplement, and the average consumption for those patients was three supplements a day. The patients said their most common source of information about supplements were friends or relatives, books or magazines. As this information is deadly to big pharma who use and skew our regulatory system to protect allopathic medicine - CG

Among the supplement-takers, 48 percent of the Pittsburgh patients and 43 percent of those in Los Angeles had potential drug-supplement interactions of any significance.

Most of the potential interactions involved ginseng, garlic, Ginkgo biloba and Coenzyme Q. Seven patients in Pittsburgh and 12 in Los Angeles had more than three potential interactions between the drugs and supplements they were taking.

"This helps us provide a context for ongoing discussions about the risks of drug-dietary supplement interactions and raise concerns regarding subsequent adverse events," said Dr. Chester Good, co-author of the study, a staff physician with the VA Healthcare System and associate professor at Pittsburgh's School of Medicine.

He said a later study with more patients might better quantify how many severe interactions actually occur from supplements and "identify which persons might be at high risk for such events."

On the Net: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/

(Contact Lee Bowman at BowmanL(at)shns.com or online at http://www.shns.com)


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