Mixing Supplements with Prescription Drugs Can Be Deadly

Seniors who take multiple prescriptions or mix over-the-counter medications and supplements with their prescriptions may be at risk for potentially deadly drug interactions, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago interviewed thousands of older adults in 2005 and again in 2011.  They found that the number of seniors taking at least five medications increased more than 30 per cent over the six years and more than 15 per cent of older adults took potentially fatal combinations of drugs, supplements or over-the-counter medications in 2011.

Supplements such as St. John’s Wort, taken for depression, can have an adverse effect on prescription medications including some blood thinners, heart drugs and tranquilizers.  Omega-3 fish oil, commonly used for it’s promising health benefits, can also cause dangerous interactions with drugs used for heart conditions.  According to the Mayo Clinic, Omega-3 may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs and can also affect blood sugar levels or cause low blood pressure.

Always check with your doctor and pharmacist before taking any supplements or over-the-counter medication. By filling all prescriptions with the same pharmacy, and keeping primary care physicians up to date on all medications, potentially fatal drug interactions can be avoided.

To learn more visit http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2500064 .

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