home
RSS
Heart drugs and supplements a risky mix
November 15th, 2010
08:30 AM ET

Heart drugs and supplements a risky mix

Herbal and dietary supplements are found in the aisles of supermarkets and health-food stores rather than behind a pharmacy counter, and they can be  dangerous when mixed with the wrong drug.

A new survey suggests that a majority of heart patients taking the popular blood-thinning drug warfarin are risking potentially dangerous complications by combining it with supplements such as fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin, coenzyme Q10, and multivitamins.

The survey, which included 100 heart patients in Utah, found that more than two-thirds were taking dietary supplements in addition to their prescribed blood thinner, in most cases unbeknownst to their doctor. Nearly half of the patients didn't view supplements as drugs.

Health.com: Heart trouble? 30 herbal remedies to avoid

"More and more patients are self-medicating with these supplements," says Jennifer Strohecker, a clinical pharmacist at Intermountain Medical Center, in Salt Lake City. "Many of us will Google something and then go out and try it, and our doctor would never know."

In a previous study, Strohecker and her colleagues found that nine of the 10 most commonly sold supplements had the potential to conflict with warfarin. The offenders included St. John's wort, melatonin, glucosamine and chondroitin, and fish oil.

"Even your multivitamin can interact with warfarin," says Strohecker, who presented her research Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

Health.com: Supplements for cholesterol: what works?

Some supplements have the ability to either enhance or negate warfarin's effects, which could potentially trigger one of two dangerous complications: severe bleeding or a blood clot.

"People think that a supplement is always natural and safe," Strohecker says. "They don't realize that the body sees it as a chemical." (As she likes to tell her patients in an effort to set them straight, warfarin itself was originally derived from a plant called sweet clover.)

Perhaps the most alarming finding of the survey was the apparent communication gap between doctors and patients. Less than one-third of the survey respondents said that their doctors had specifically asked them about supplement use, though nearly all said they would discuss it if asked. (Patients who don't view supplements as drugs tend not to list them on standard doctor's office paperwork, Strohecker says.)

Health.com: How to use supplements safely

In addition to recommending that doctors ask patients about supplement use, Strohecker suggests that patients who choose to take supplements do so consistently.

"I also fully believe that there should be some cautionary statements or some labeling changes on the supplements themselves," Strohecker says. "It's a communication thing."

The Scientific Sessions meeting highlights the latest heart-related research and treatment advances. Unlike studies published in medical journals, the research presented at the meeting has not been vetted by independent experts in the field.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. chloroquine autophagy

    hydrochlroquine chloroquine price in india what is hcq medicine

    June 4, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. hctz medication

    chloroquinine hydroxychloroquine uk chloroquine without prescription

    June 5, 2021 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. buy tadalis

    tadalafil overdose where to buy tadalafil on line maxim peptide tadalafil

    June 6, 2021 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. pharmacepticacom

    tadalafil online with out prescription https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. pharmaceptica.com

    sildenafil price comparison uk https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply to chloroquine autophagy


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.