I have always been against supplements. As a physician where safety to patients is of utmost importance, giving drugs that are marketed as natural, herbal and safe without any research background and no published studies in REPUTABLE journals is not acceptable. This also holds true to Chinese medications. Anybody can just print out a magazine touting the benefits and health effects of certain hebral prepartations and present these to clients as proofs that these natural supplements work! Not only are they unsafe, they may also have interactions with the drugs we give that really can help our patients.
Here’s one reason why I refuse to recommend supplements to my patients…this is a recent experience published in Medpage Today, January issue on an over the counter ” natural” supplements to help patients lose weight….
The marketer of two dietary weight-loss supplements sold as “100% all natural” issued a voluntary recall of the products after FDA testing confirmed they contained the banned weight-loss drug sibutramine.
The FDA has received a number of adverse event reports related to Fruta Planta and Reduce Weight Fruta Planta, including multiple cardiac events and one death.
Sibutramine, withdrawn from the U.S. market in October 2010 due to an increased risk of stroke and myocardial infarction, may also cause patients to experience elevated blood pressure or pulse rate; may increase risk to patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke; and may have negative and life-threatening interactions with some drugs.
The agency recommended consumers stop using the product and throw any remaining samples away in a sealed container or return the product to the marketer, PRock Marketing of Kissimmee, Fla. Patients who experience any negative side effects from the product should consult a healthcare professional immediately.
The product was sold online in 30-capsule boxes.
The risk is enormous because these products may contain true drugs that are already banned but are not included in the product label. As a result these supplements will really work because they contain active drug ingredients. The risk involves doctors not knowing what to expect in terms of side effects. The patients also take them lightly without regard to the effects on their body becuase they are “Herbal”, ” Natural” and apparently without side effects!
So please take note. The above story is just one of the many horror stories we have encountered as medical practitioners.