Supplements and Herbal Remedies

Before taking any supplements or herbal remedies, seek advice from your doctor. If your doctor advises against use of all or any particular supplement, ask why. If you get the go-ahead, consider the following advice from experts at Arthritis Today magazine:

  • Make sure you have an accurate diagnosis of your illness from your doctor before trying any supplement.
  • When taking remedies, be alert to possible interactions with prescriptions or other drugs you are taking.
  • Know that some medications or supplements can affect the outcome of medical tests such as blood or urine studies.
  • Try one new supplement (single active ingredient) at a time, and keep a record of its effects. Note the brand name and the dose.
  • Don’t take any supplement for more than three months without a medical evaluation to check for side effects.
  • Know that some supplements take some time to be effective. Glucosamine, for example, can take up to two months to bring relief.
  • Don’t take large doses. You can overdose on anything — no matter how “safe” it appears or claims to be.
  • Always tell your doctor everything you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbs, vitamins, and special diet supplements.
  • Keep a list of all the supplements you are taking, along with your other medications.

Always call your doctor if you have any unusual symptoms or feel worse after using a supplement. Be sure to keep the container the supplement came in.

Source:  Excerpted from Arthritis Today magazine.