Can They Interact with Your Medications?





Many Americans take both herbal supplements and prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Herbal supplements, like drugs, may interact with other drugs, food, and laboratory measurements. Sometimes, taking a drug and a supplement together may increase the drug’s effect, coming unwanted side effects. Sometimes, taking a drug and a supplement together may decrease the drug’s effect. This means you aren’t getting the full benefit from the drug.

For example, St. John’s wort interacts with many medications. In most instances, it speeds up the processes that change the drug into inactive substances, leading to a decrease in drug levels in your body. It interacts with some drugs in other ways. For example, taking St. John’s wort with certain types of antidepressants can cause harmful side effects.

To help avoid possible harmful interactions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about all the supplements and drugs you take.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; National Institutes of Health