July is Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month. Just because something is natural or a “supplement” doesn’t mean it’s safe, especially if you’re taking other prescription drugs.
Herbal supplements with cranberry extract as a primary ingredient can interact with blood thinning medications, so you shouldn’t take both at the same time.
Ginkgo, most commonly taken to improve memory, has been shown to interact with aspirin, diuretics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and blood thinners.
Echinacea, largely used to fight the cold and flu, can interact with some chemotherapy agents, caffeine, liver medications, and meds that decrease your immune system.
Saw palmetto, a popular active ingredient in supplements, can be dangerous during pregnancy and can interact with birth control, hormone therapy, and medication that prevents blood clots.
Fish oils, taken for heart and bone health, may interact with high blood pressure meds, birth control, and some meds that prevent blood clots.
Keep a list of all your prescriptions and supplements and talk to your doctor about them to make sure there aren’t any interactions. You can also learn more by reading warning labels on your medications or talking to your pharmacist.