Vitamins and supplements are a growing trendDid 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