Prescription drugs are designed to make people feel better. However, each year, thousands of people suffer adverse reactions when they take certain substances at the same time. These events are referred to as adverse interactions. Often, the most dangerous Maryland drug interactions are between two prescription substances; however, as a recent article points out, prescription medication can also interact with over-the-counter supplements.
Supplements exist in a bit of a legal and regulatory gray area in that they are not FDA-approved to treat or diagnose any condition. In fact, the FDA is specifically prohibited from reviewing supplements for safety or efficacy. Thus, what consumers get when they purchase a supplement is somewhat a mystery and can vary depending on the manufacturer.
While the information provided by a supplement manufacturer is likely based on some type of study or belief, it is not scientifically proven. And because the FDA does not regulate supplements, there is no consistency in how they are manufactured. This means supplements that are marketed under the same name but sold by different manufacturers can have drastically different ingredients. There can even be inconsistencies between batches of supplements from the same manufacturer.
Of special concern to many taking other prescription medication is the fact that the ingredients in supplements, while not well documented, can potentially cause serious interactions with other medications. For example, consider the following supplements:
- St. John’s Wort – A medicinal herb with possible anti-depressant properties, St. John’s Wort can alter the metabolization of estrogen. As a result, St. John’s Wort can decrease the effectiveness of birth-control medications and other medications, such as immunosuppressants, antidepressants, and anti-HIV drugs.
- Creatine – A naturally occurring amino acid, creatine is taken by athletes and those who want to see significant muscle gain. However, the liver, pancreas, and kidneys also make creatine. Thus, certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen sodium, should not be mixed with creatine.
- Ginkgo Biloba – Derived from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree, Ginkgo Biloba is used to treat dementia in some patients. However, it has also been linked to seizures and may interfere with the efficacy of the anticonvulsant medication.
While supplements may not cause harm on their own, they can when combined with certain prescription medications. Maryland patients should inform their pharmacist of all non-FDA approved supplements they take so that the pharmacist can advise them on any potential interactions.
Have You Suffered an Adverse Drug Interaction?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a Maryland pharmacy error, contact the dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we provide a unique form of client-centered representation, focusing on each clients’ individual needs. We also work with a broad network of experts nationwide, which we regularly tap to help prove our clients’ cases when necessary. Our attorneys are both skilled negotiators and aggressive litigators, and can seamlessly switch between the two roles. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Maryland drug interaction lawyer, call 410-654-3600 today.