Incidence and Severity of Potential Drug–Dietary Supplement Interactions in Primary Care Patients
This article pretty much says it all. In this study of 458 veterens, 43% were using at least one supplement. Of these, the “potential” for interaction was present in 45%. Of these, most were determined not serious. And the authors admit that, in the medical literature, actual evidence of interaction was “sparse.” I have brought up this seeming disparity between actual, documented interactions and the actual press that drug-nutrient interactions get. Try finding actual cases of birth defects from Vitamin A taken in pregnancy.
Try finding actual cases of death from St. John’s Wort and heart meds. I’m not saying that they don’t exists and that patients should not be aware and conscious of potential interactions, but there have been several times I have had patients told they should not take a supplement that would clearly benefit their health because of the over-perceived danger of interaction. In reality, drug-drug interactions are much more common, well founded in the medical literature, and result in a large number of deaths per year.
Arch Intern Med — Abstracts: Peng et al. 164 (6): 630 –