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Doctor-patient communication about dietary supplements could use a vitamin boost
Date:7/1/2013

searchers used the Supplement Communication Index (SCI), which is calculated by giving one point for discussion of each of the five major topics.

Among the findings:

  • Less than 25 percent of the five major topics fewer than two on average were discussed during the office visits.
  • All five topics were covered during discussions of only six of the 738 supplements.
  • None of the five major topics were discussed for 281 of the supplements patients told their physicians they were taking.
  • SCI scores were significantly higher for discussions of non-vitamin, non-mineral supplements such as herbs, compared with those about vitamins and minerals. The former have a greater potential for adverse medicationsupplement interactions than the latter.

The researchers pointed out that since the original studies did not focus specifically on dietary supplements, they could not ascertain how many of the 1,477 patients from the three studies were actually taking them. The researchers also did not have information about the patients' medications or medical conditions, so they could not assess if patients were at risk for interactions.

But given these supplements' popularity, easy availability and potential risks, more should be done to improve physician communication about them, the researchers said.

"Future studies should examine the relationship between physicianpatient discussions on patient decision-making about dietary supplements, and investigate whether discussions are effective for preventing adverse events and supplementdrug interactions," the researchers write. "A better understanding about these relationships could inform future interventions to enhance physicianpatient communication about dietary supplements."


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Contact: Enrique Rivero
erivero@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2273
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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