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Avoiding dietary supplement, drug interactions

Avoiding daily doses of certain dietary supplements when you are also taking drugs for dental treatment might help prevent drug interactions, say the authors of an article in the July issue of The American Dental Association.

The authors, Dr. Mark Donaldson, director of pharmacy services, Kalispell Regional Medical Center, Montana, and Riva Touger-Decker, Ph.D., R.D., professor, Division of Nutrition, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, New Jersey, searched for articles and information about interactions between medications prescribed or given by dentists and the most commonly used dietary supplements in the United States. They found that taking ginkgo, St. John's wort, evening primrose or valerian if you are also taking drugs commonly prescribed or used in dentistry may cause interactions of clinical concern. These interactions can lead to adverse effects such as reducing the effectiveness of the drug, sensitivity to light and blood thinning.

Therefore, when you visit your dentist it is important to tell him or her about any dietary supplements, over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs you are taking. That way, your dentist can make decisions about which drugs to safely prescribe to you or give you during a dental procedure. Your dentist may also tell you to stop using dietary supplements for a certain period of time before using a medication for dental treatment.

"Recognition and avoidance of potential interactions between dietary supplements and medications prescribed or administered commonly will help oral health care providers optimize treatment while emphasizing patients' safety," concluded Drs. Donaldson and Touger-Decker.

For more information about discussing your medication use with your dentist, visit

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