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Co-Prescribing - Can you take supplements with your meds?

Co-Prescribing - Can you take supplements with your meds? | Mr Vitamins
Co-Prescribing – can you take nutritional supplements with your pharmaceutical medications? Mr Vitamins staff are asked on a daily basis whether nutritional supplements can be taken with pharmaceutical medications. Sometimes the answer is simple but more often we need to look further into the interactions of the particular medications. Many of the medications have contra-indications (a reason why a supplement cannot be taken at the same time).

Vitamins and supplements are a growing trend

Did you know that approximately 59% of the population are using pharmaceutical medications and 66% take nutritional/complementary medicines? There is no doubt that pharmaceuticals play an integral role for an individual’s health. But they are not always a complete solution. Many pharmaceuticals deplete nutrients or cause side effects with long term or short term use. It is possible to improve the expected health outcomes by improving the efficacy and reducing the side effects associated with the medications.

What is Co-Prescribing?

Co-prescribing is simply the recommendation of nutritional supplements alongside pharmaceutical medications by recognising when it is safe to do so. The aim is to encourage better health outcomes by improving the efficacy of the medications and to reduce any harm that is associated with their use. Depending of the medications being taken it is often recommended for the prescribing doctor to be advised of the nutritional supplements being recommended. What are the benefits of Co-Prescribing?
  • Potential to improve clinical results
  • May be a possibility of reducing drug dose
  • Prevent or reduce side effects of drugs
  • Understanding the best time to take the nutritional supplements to improve absorption, to avoid interaction and improve outcomes
  • Reducing the risk of becoming nutritionally deficient

What needs to be taken into consideration with co-prescribing?

  • Care taken not to reduce the therapeutic action of the drug
  • Not to increase the therapeutic action of the drug
  • Not to cause drug toxicity

What nutrients can be depleted by medications?

This list is extensive and should be further discussed face-to-face to find out why the medications are being taken. Some of the nutrients commonly depleted are:
  • Calcium by proton pump inhibitors (drugs that reduce stomach acid)
  • B groups vitamins by anti-biotics, hormone replacement therapy and drugs used to treat depression and other psychiatric conditions
  • Change to gut flora by anti-biotics
  • Minerals by anti-hypertensives
  • CoQ10 by hypoglycaemics, cholesterol lowering drugs and beta blockers

What is safe to take alongside pharmaceuticals?

Usually nutritional supplements can be can be used safely with pharmaceutical medications. Of greatest concern for some of our staff is when we ask a customer why they are taking a supplement only to find out that it is contra-indicated with the pharmaceuticals they are taking and that there is potential for harmful effects. It is not uncommon that people have been advised by a 'friend', or they found information on the internet, or they simply decided not to let the people selling the nutrients know that they were taking pharmaceuticals because they didn’t want to be told they couldn’t. It can be difficult to assess this with a five minute discussion in the Mr Vitamin shop. A Clinic consultation with a Naturopath, Nutritionist is often advised. Ultimately, the outcome of co-prescribing is to improve overall wellbeing over an extended period of time.

What else can you do to maintain wellness while taking pharmaceuticals?

As with general wellbeing the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, exercise, relaxation alongside with nutritional supplements to support an individual’s needs is the core requirement for reaching one’s best health potential.

Find out more about Co-Prescribing with Naturopath Janne Ramsay

If you would like more information on co-prescribing, you can book and appointment with Mr Vitamins Naturopaths, including Janne Ramsay, who will take you through the steps for efficient and beneficial co-prescribing…….

Two supplement reviews are available:

Supplement Review Brief (30 minutes) – a review of your supplements, why you are taking them, do you need to make any changes and taking supporting nutrients to help with any side effects. Supplement Review and Wellness (90 minutes) – in this appointment we complete a full supplement review and an assessment of your health and how these supplements interact with your health, and dietary and lifestyle recommendations to help achieve your wellness goals. Learn more about Janne hereGood-Digestion You can also join Mr Vitamin’s Naturopath Janne Ramsay as she takes you through an informative and fun presentation on the basics of healthy digestion. Discover how your digestive system directly impacts your health.          

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