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Medications and Supplements: Avoiding Harmful Interactions


Taking dietary supplements with prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs can change the way a drug acts in the body.

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DR. RODGERS: If you take dietary supplements, prescriptions, or over-the-counter drugs, you need to know that they may interact in harmful ways.

Hi, I’m Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases at NIH.

My colleague, Dr. Helene Langevin, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at NIH, explains:

DR. LANGEVIN: Taking dietary supplements together with prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs can change the way a drug acts in the body. This may result in too much or too little of a medication that could increase your risk for side effects. Some supplements—like those for weight loss and sexual function—can even be tainted with unknown amounts of active drugs.

Every time you visit your doctor, bring a list of all the medications and supplements you take; the dose; and how often you take them.

Sharing this information can help keep you safe.

DR. RODGERS: Follow us on Twitter @NIDDKGov. This is Dr. Griffin Rodgers with the NIH.

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