Adverse Events And Emergency Room Visits From Dietary Supplements | Maysa Odeh, PharmD | RxEconsult

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Adverse Effects And Emergency Room Visits From Dietary Supplements Category: Alternative Medicine by - November 4, 2015 | Views: 25551 | Likes: 1 | Comment: 0  

Symptoms Reported

The most common symptoms reported in this study were:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heart beat (tachycardia)
  • Allergic reactions
  • Swallowing problems/choking 

Cardiac symptoms (palpitations, chest pain, and fast heartbeat) were commonly reported in people 20-34 years of age and in conjunction with weight-loss products and energy products. Most of these patients were discharged and did not require further hospitalization. Unlike prescription drugs, there is  no information  required for describing the possibility for adverse effects. Physicians and pharmacists  should explain potential cardiac effects from weight-loss products and energy products.

Unsupervised Ingestion By Children

One-fifth of the emergency department visits were due to unsupervised ingestion of supplements by children. These incidents mostly involved multivitamins, iron, weight loss supplements, and supplements for insomnia or anxiety. With the exception of iron containing products, child-resistant packaging is not required for dietary supplements. Ironically, despite child-resistant packaging, iron was still the second most ingested supplement by children. Store supplements and prescription medications out of the reach of children.

Emergency Visits By Adults

Adults between ages 20 and 34 years old had the most emergency room visits  In adults 65 years of age or older, iron, calcium, and potassium were responsible for one-third of emergency department visits. In this older age group, swallowing problems were implicated in 40% of visits. The FDA recommends limiting the tablet size of pharmaceutical products to 22 mm, but there is no tablet size recommendation for dietary supplements. The elderly should consider buying supplements that are supplied in smaller tablets or as liquids, gels, or powders in order to avoid swallowing difficulties.


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