Prevalence of dietary supplements and over-the-counter drug use in patients with arterial hypertension
Mateusz Łobacz, , Marek Stopa, Magdalena Niemczyk, Karolina Rutkowska, Agata Radko
Jagiellonian University Medical College – Students’ Scientific Group at the First Department of Cardiology, Interventional Electrocardiology and Hypertension, Poland

Aim: Analysis of frequency of use of DS/OTC among patients with arterial hypertension as well as factors determining its use and patients’ knowledge about possible interactions with conventional medication.

Introduction: Dietary supplements (DS) and over-the-counter drugs (OTC) are frequently advertised as a natural treatment of many disorders. DS/OTC can interfere with biotherapeutic action of prescribed medication and this is of particular concern in patients with cardiovascular disease, many of whom are on long term treatment.

Methods: The study was conducted in the Outpatient Hypertensive Clinic in the Tertiary Cardiac Center. Self-prepared questionnaire was administered among 151 hypertensive patients (58% females, age range 18–80 years). Regular DS/OTC use was defined as taking them at least 3 times per week.

Results: In the examined population regular use of DS/OTC was declared by 67% subjects. The most commonly, regularly used substances were minerals and microelements (60.4%), vitamins (48.5%), analgesics (18.8%), drugs increasing the immunity (18.8%), relieving the gastrointestinal symptoms (18.8%) and omega acids (18.8%). There were no differences in the frequency of DS/OTC use in relation to number of antihypertensive drugs, educational level, age and income. Women are more frequent regular users of DS/OTC than men (n=65 vs. n=36, p=0.03). Only 38% of responders always consulted the use of DS/OTC with a doctor. The majority of responders (52%) is not aware of possible influence of DS/OTC on antihypertensive medication or blood pressure control. Cost of DS/OTC in 23% of responders is equal or higher than cost of prescribed drugs.

Conclusion: Two thirds of hypertensive patients are regularly using DS/OTC. Half of them are not aware of possible interactions with antihypertensive therapy and influence of blood pressure control. The perception that nonprescription therapies are unnecessary to report during medication history taking should be changed. DS/OTC are the important position in the responders budget.

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