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Herbal Supplements & Rx Meds: A Recipe for Disaster

Summary: Many people take both Rx meds and supplements in hopes of improving health, but the potential interactions may make things worse.
Air Date: 7/18/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Gerald O’Malley, MD
Dr. Gerald O'Malley is a board-certified emergency physician and medical toxicologist.

He is an Associate Professor at Thomas Jefferson University and the Vice-Chair for Research and Scholarship at Albert Einstein Medical Center, which is the largest emergency department in Philadelphia.

He has published extensively in the fields of emergency medicine and poisoning.
Herbal Supplements & Rx Meds: A Recipe for Disaster
Many people take both herbal supplements and prescription medications in hopes of improving their health. However, in this case more is not always better, and the potential interactions could make things even worse.

There's no denying the many health benefits you can achieve from taking herbal supplements. It's certainly understandable why you would want to add them into your healthy lifestyle. However, there are still some complications within the herbal supplement industry.

Unfortunately, this industry is highly unregulated, and instances of mislabeling often occur. The FDA won't get involved until a product has already hit the health food stands, grocery stores and online websites and a problem has arisen.

This also makes it hard to accurately asses how many people are actively taking supplements. When you are being questioned in your doctor's office about which medications you are currently taking, you might overlook supplements and deem them irrelevant to the conversation.

But, whether it's vitamins, minerals, or specific dietary supplements, it's always a good idea to disclose that information to your physician.

If you accidentally mix herbal supplements and prescription medication, what might be some of the health hazards that could result?

Dr. Gerald O'Malley discusses the reasons why you might lean toward using herbal supplements for a healthier lifestyle, the problem with taking certain herbal supplements and why it can be extremely dangerous to mix herbal supplements and prescription medications.