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Incidence and Significance of Supplement-Drug Interactions in Oncology Patients at an Integrative Medicine Center

Issue: Vol.11, No.1 - January 2012

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Article Type: Manuscript

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  1. Dr Keith Block
    M.D
    Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment,
  2. Dr Amanda Koch
    Ph.D
    Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment
  3. Dr Charlotte Gyllenhaal
    Ph.D.
    Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment

Many cancer patients use dietary supplements concurrently with medications, raising concern for harmful supplement-drug interactions. Supplements and medications for 65 patients initially presenting at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment during the period 2004-2007 were obtained from intake questionnaires and medical records. Interactions were analyzed using the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, which ranks and assesses interactions. 48% of subjects used drugs and supplements concurrently; concurrent users averaged 6.7 supplements and 2.4 drugs. 131 different supplements were used; 135 unique interactions were detected. Six interactions were ranked as “major.” Only low-level scientific evidence supported the validity of most interactions.

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