Interest in and the consumption of dietary supplements in the United States has never been greater, according to the 18th annual CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. Nearly nine in 10 adults surveyed said they were confident in the overall safety, quality, and effectiveness of supplements, and three quarters perceived the dietary supplement industry as trustworthy.
What they may not realize is that the supplements they consume on a daily basis can be risky business. Their active ingredients can have serious and unwanted biological effects on the human body, especially when combined with medications and other supplements. Perhaps more importantly, supplements are essentially unregulated by the federal government—so, buyer beware!
Community pharmacists have an important role to play when it comes to dietary supplements. They can help their customers safely choose vitamins, minerals, herbs, and enzymes tailored to their individual needs and their medical and prescription history.
Pharmacists can advise customers about some of the dangers associated with certain supplements, such as the five presented here. All have been linked to serious medical complications when misused or ingested in combination with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Some of these might be uncommon, and others you probably don’t even stock in your pharmacy. But are you taking the time to ask patients what supplements they’re taking?
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