US News & World Report just released its lists of pharmacist-recommended over-the-counter medications and devices, which includes a number of dietary supplements. The annual survey, conducted in collaboration with Pharmacy Times, highlights the top pharmacist-recommended over-the-counter products.
Nature Made emerged as a winner in nine key vitamin and supplement segments, including:
- Letter Vitamins (A, B, C, D, and E)
- Omega-3/Fish Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
- Herbal Supplements
- Mood Health (SAM-e)
- Diabetic Multivitamins
- Cholesterol Management (Fish Oil)
"This marks the 23rd year that Pharmacists recognize Nature Made as a leading vitamin and supplement brand," said Jeff Boutelle, CEO of Pharmavite, the makers of Nature Made. "We are honored by this recognition and the fact that Pharmacists continue to acknowledge our commitment to developing science-backed, quality products they can recommend with confidence."
Other notable top spots went to Centrum in the multivitamin segment, Flinstones Complete Children’s Multivitamin, One a Day Prenatal, and Culturelle probiotics.
Integrating prescriptions drugs and dietary supplements
Pharmacists play a major role in informing consumers on dietary supplements performing comprehensive medication reviews to make sure there are no drug interactions.
Estimates show that between 40% and 60% of US adults with chronic disease use dietary supplements. Among those taking prescription medications, an estimated 20% to 25% concurrently take dietary supplements.
According to G. Ashner et al. in “Common Herbal Dietary Supplement–Drug Interactions” in the journal American Family Physician, “Some supplements, such as St. John's wort and goldenseal, are known to cause clinically important drug interactions and should be avoided by most patients receiving any pharmacologic therapy. However, many other supplements are predicted to cause interactions based only on in vitro studies that have not been confirmed or have been refuted in human clinical trials. Some supplements may cause interactions with a few medications but are likely to be safe with other medications (e.g., curcumin, echinacea, garlic, Asian ginseng, green tea extract, kava kava). Some supplements have a low likelihood of drug interactions and, with certain caveats, can safely be taken with most medications (e.g., black cohosh, cranberry, ginkgo, milk thistle, American ginseng, saw palmetto, valerian). Clinicians should consult reliable dietary supplement resources, or clinical pharmacists or pharmacologists, to help assess the safety of specific herbal supplement–drug combinations. Because most patients do not disclose supplement use to clinicians, the most important strategy for detecting herb-drug interactions is to develop a trusting relationship that encourages patients to discuss their dietary supplement use.”
There have been growing calls to increase student pharmacists’ education in dietary and herbal supplements. Despite the widespread use of dietary supplements, community pharmacists report having poor knowledge of dietary and herbal supplements and are not proactively inquiring about their patients’ dietary and herbal supplement use, according to the study “Dietary Supplement Use, Knowledge, and Perceptions Among Student Pharmacists.”
A white paper published by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy recommended that natural products, such as dietary and herbal supplements, should be included in the curriculum of pharmacy schools.
Pharmacy Times has surveyed thousands of pharmacists nationwide for over two decades to determine the top pharmacist recommended over-the-counter products within several key health areas.
The full survey can be found at here.