A new study published in early October revealed unapproved and sometimes dangerous drugs in 746 dietary supplements, almost all of them marketed for weight loss, muscle growth or sexual enhancement.1
About 80 percent of supplements were contaminated by one pharmaceutical that should not have been in the product. Twenty percent contained at least two such drugs, and two of the supplements contained six unapproved drugs. Despite these contaminants, fewer than half the products were recalled.2 In the United States, more than 50% of adults consume dietary supplements, fueling a $35 billion industry.3,4 As the dietary supplement industry continues to grow in the United States, it is essential to further address this significant public health issue.
What Does This Mean for You?
The presence of pharmaceutically active ingredients in dietary supplements makes them unapproved drugs and represents an important public health concern. The study found indications that a large percentage of products continue to be sold and are potentially dangerous even after FDA warnings. This is alarming, especially considering that the FDA is only able to test a portion of products available on the market. Taking a combination of herbal supplements or using supplements together with prescribed medications could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results.
Supplement Safety Tips
- If you’re currently taking prescription medications and thinking about starting an herbal supplement, always talk to your doctor or pharmacist first about possible drug interactions.
- Stick to brands that have been tested by independent sources
- Check ConsumerLab.com or U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP)
Do you have any questions regarding your supplements or medications?
Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.
Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742
- Bailey RL, Gahche JJ, Lentino CV, et al. Dietary supplement use in the United States, 2003-2006. J Nutr. 2011;141(2):261-266. doi:10.3945/jn.110.133025
- US Food and Drug Administration. Constituent updates—FDA creates the Office of Dietary Supplement programs and announces new nutrition office leadership. http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20171114120120/https://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm478303.htm. Published December 21, 2015. Accessed June 2017.