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Taken Together, Prescription Drugs & Dietary Supplements May Cause Dangerous Interactions

Prescription drugs and dietary supplements can significantly increase a person’s risk of potentially life-threatening side effects, a new study has found.

Less than a third of active soldiers discuss dietary supplement use with their doctors prior to taking them, according to a new study about drug use by military service members. Many of these individuals don’t consider the use of supplements to affect medications. However, when taken simultaneously, prescription drugs and dietary supplements can significantly increase a person’s risk of potentially life-threatening side effects.

Dietary Supplement Side Effects Update 8/14/12: An article published in next month’s issue of Consumer Reports investigates the risks involved with taking vitamins, minerals, herbs, and so-called ‘dietary supplements.’ The report states that a large number of supposedly natural products are laced with active ingredients found in prescription drugs, and that users often experience serious side effects after taking them. Click here to learn more.

Dietary Supplement Lawsuit Update 6/7/12: In a recent landmark lawsuit, a leading online dietary supplement retailer pled guilty to selling products laced with steroids and agreed to pay a hefty $7 million fine. Many legal experts believe the case will set a new precedent for cracking down on vendors of adultered products. Click here for more information.

DMAA Update 4/27/12: The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) today sent warning letters to 10 manufacturers and distributors of DMAA-containing dietary supplements for marketing products whose safety has not been proven. Specifically, the FDA’s letters accuse the companies of marketing products for which a notification has not been submitted for the use of DMAA as a New Dietary Supplement (NDI). Click here to learn more.

Free Dietary Supplement Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by a dietary supplement, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the dietary supplement and we can help.

What’s the problem?

April 10, 2012 – Even when taken alone, many popular dietary supplements can produce adverse reactions such as dizziness, headaches, and problems with sexual performance. When users experience these unpleasant side effects, they don’t stop taking supplements, they just find different ones or try to cut the dose.

One of the main problems with dietary supplements is that they’re not regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Products falling into this category do not have to be tested or proven effective prior to being sold. Testing only occurs after a problem arises, like it did with ephedra, which was banned in 2004 after being on the market as a dietary supplement for nearly 10 years.

After an abnormally high number of adverse events linked to ephedra were reported to the FDA, the administration concluded that the substance presented an unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers. Ephedra was found to be minimally effective except for weight loss purposes, while confirming that it drastically raises blood pressure and stresses the heart. These serious cardiovascular risks were found to negate any benefits of weight loss.

Another controversial dietary supplement ingredient, 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA), has recently been removed from Army and Air Force Exchange shelves because it had been linked to the deaths of two young soldiers.

According to the FDA, consumers need to be aware that many dietary supplement products are laced with unregulated quantities of prescription medications, controlled substances, and unstudied active ingredients.

“These deceptive products can harm you,” says the FDA website. “Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for bodybuilding. Remember, FDA cannot test all products on the market that contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Enforcement actions and consumer advisories for tainted products only cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market.”

Recently-published consumer report statistics estimate the total sales for dietary supplements to be more than $27 billion annually in the United States alone.

Among the armed forces, dietary supplement use is highest in the Marine Corps. Army soldiers’ use of supplements was second behind the Marines. These products are often used by overweight service members who are moderate to heavy drinkers.

“Due to the long and tedious process of removing any product from the market, many potentially dangerous products remain for sale,” says the Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC) website. “The Department of Defense is about to launch an educational campaign to inform warfighters and their families about potential health risks and steps to take before using dietary supplements. This campaign, Operation Supplement Safety or OPSS, will focus on service members and their families.”

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Do You Have a Dietary Supplement Lawsuit?

The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in dietary supplement lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new dietary supplement injury cases in all 50 states.

Free Dietary Supplement Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury you feel may have been caused by a dietary supplement, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a dietary supplement injury suit and we can help.

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