Supplements And Medications That Should Not Be Taken Together
While many supplements have proven health benefits, many people overlook the fact that nutritional supplements can sometimes have an adverse effect when taken with other over-the-counter or prescription medications. Some interactions can create health problems. Patients should ask a physician or pharmacist before taking new supplements.
What we know
Although clinical studies related to herb-drug interactions are limited, some herbal supplements are known to contraindicate certain medications. Here are some of the known herb-drug interactions.
Black cohosh is an herb, and the plant’s root has been used for medicinal purposes by Native American for hundreds of years. Today, many women take a black cohosh supplement to alleviate symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. Black cohosh is also used to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. Taken in combination with cholesterol medications, black cohosh may increase the risk of liver damage. This herb should also not be taken with certain cancer drugs as this may decrease effectiveness of the prescribed medication.
Echinacea is an herb that boosts the immune system. People take this supplement to reduce the risk of colds and influenza. Echinacea may also alleviate the symptoms of urinary tract infections. Echinacea should not be taken with medications used to treat high blood pressure, migraine headaches, or seizures, as the herb may decrease the effectiveness of these drugs.
Gingko is an herb that is recommended for many different conditions. These include anxiety and depression, altitude sickness, and asthma. Recent studies have also shown that this herb has promise for the treatment of dementia and overall cognitive decline. Gingko may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs. Gingko may decrease the effectiveness of some antidepressants. Gingko may also alter the response to diabetes medications.
Panax ginseng is considered to be a potent antioxidant with the ability to reduce inflammation. Ginseng is believed to reduce fatigue and boost energy levels. Ginseng is also recommended for boosting the immune system and benefitting brain function. Ginseng may inhibit blood clotting when combined with blood-thinning drugs. This herb may increase the efficacy of estrogens.
People who take dietary supplements and are then prescribed medications should check with a physician to see if there is any contraindications. Patients who are already taking prescription medications should consult a physician when considering taking a supplement. Always check the safety before combining any medications or supplements.