Is it safe to mix dietary supplements with prescription drugs

From online magazine The Scientist:

“For more than 5,000 years, herbs and other natural ingredients have been used for medicinal purposes. Today, people use such concentrated natural products as supplements to help combat various diseases, from depression to cancer, as well as to boost health, including immunity and memory. Based on Natural Standard research, in the United States alone more than $40 billion is spent each year on these products. An estimated 60 percent of cancer patients try natural products, and 40 percent take vitamins or other dietary supplements.

Just because herbal products are developed from plants, they cannot necessarily be deemed harmless. Like prescription drugs, herbs and supplements may cause unwanted side effects and can interact with prescription drugs, other natural products, or foods, and may even alter diagnostic and laboratory test results. Unlike regulated drugs, however, dietary supplements can be marketed without approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. As a result, herbal products are often not thoroughly evaluated by the FDA unless there is sufficient evidence to prove that they are unsafe. Partly due to this regulatory freedom, as well as to a lack of available clinical research, interactions between herbs and conventional drugs are often overlooked…”

They can and do however.  Read more:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32289/title/Polypharmacy/

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About UWF Center on Aging

The Center on Aging at the University of West Florida was established in the Fall of 2010 when the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences faculty along with assistance from Sponsored Research submitted a grant to the State University System Board of Governors in support of aging initiatives for Northwest Florida. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of aging adults through the application of science to address challenges associated with aging and to promote healthy aging, with an emphasis on prevention. This will be accomplished through inter-disciplinary and inter-professional efforts of basic and applied research, consultation, and partnerships with community agencies. Education and training, direct services to the aging population, and public awareness and understanding of the contributions and needs of elders will be primary objectives.
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