Many supplements have unapproved drug ingredients

Many supplements have unapproved drug ingredients
(Childers, Allison)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Nearly 800 dietary supplements sold over the counter from 2007 through 2016 contained unapproved drug ingredients, according tot he U.S. Food and Drug Administration data.

The recently published study revealed that more than one unapproved pharmaceutical ingredient was found in 20 percent of those supplements.

“We are finding more and more patients taking supplements during their cancer treatment,” said Dr. Burke “Jay” Brooks, chairman of Ochsner’s Baton Rouge hematology/oncology department. “It’s important for anyone, regardless of their medical condition, to tell their doctor about all supplements they are taking.”

Data shows that in most cases, the unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients are not disclosed on the product’s label.

Dr. Pieter A. Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School wrote in an editorial published with the study that only 360 of 746 (48 percent) were recalled, leaving the majority of adulterated supplements, more than 350 products, available for sale.”

(Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology)

According to American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2018 National Cancer Opinion Survey*:

  • Nearly four in 10 Americans believe cancer can be cured solely through alternative therapies, despite evidence that patients who use alternative therapies instead of standard cancer treatments have much higher mortality rates.
  • Amid the ongoing opioid crisis, nearly three in four Americans are concerned about limiting access to opioids for people with cancer, and many cancer patients report difficulty obtaining these medications.
  • Americans say they are just as worried about the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis as they are about dying of cancer, with caregivers and rural Americans bearing the weight of cancer’s financial and access challenges.
(Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology)

“Many supplements contain chemicals that may interfere with prescribed medicines that fight disease, especially cancer,” added Dr. Brooks. “Cancer is a scary diagnosis, and many people are looking for any answer. My recommendation is to explore clinical trials. There are thousands of active clinical trials in many medical disciplines. Ochsner and its partners have vast access to these trials, so patients don’t have to travel out of state to find trials.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an Ochsner practitioner, call 225-761-5200 or schedule a visit online.

*The latest survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll from July 10-August 10, 2018 among 4,887 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Of these adults, 1,001 have or had cancer.

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