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Clinician’s Corner: Vitamins

For the next couple of months, we will journey through our vitamin aisle at Thompson Pharmacy.  We pharmacists have a high level of expertise with vitamins. I’ll be providing you with the therapeutic uses of each vitamins, as well as uses for vitamins as therapeutic agents.  We will also focus on vitamin depletion caused by the prescription products we commonly dispense. I’m not a “vitamin nut” I believe appropriately recommended vitamins are of great value to our patients.

Who takes them:

  • More than one-half of Americans take multiple vitamins either single entity or multivitamins
  • 70% of adults over the age of 65 report taking a vitamin or mineral supplement.
  • Total spent is $12billion per year.
  • About one in four young children takes an MVM.
  • adolescents are least likely to take them.

Who regulates them:

The FDA loosely regulates dietary supplements, under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA ’94).

Dietary supplements do NOT need FDA approval before marketing nor do they need to be registered with the FDA before being produced or sold. The manufacturer does not have to prove that the supplement is effective, unlike for drugs. The manufacturer can say that the product addresses a nutrient deficiency, supports health, or reduces the risk of developing a health problem, if that is true. If the manufacturer does make a claim, it must be followed by the statement “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

FDA regulates the label content and health claims. Claims that can be used on food and dietary supplement labels fall into three categories: health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims. Here are some examples of permissible supplement claims:

  • “Supports a healthy immune system”
  • “Builds strong bones”
  • “Maintains bowel regularity”
  • “Decreases blood platelet stickiness”
  • “A good source of Vitamin-C”

Notice no disease state is mentioned, such as “prevents osteoporosis”, or “prevents stroke”.

Burden of proof is on the FDA to prove that a supplement is Unsafe, before that product can be removed from the market. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure product safety and product efficacy.

Reporting by patients and manufacturers: Starting December 22, 2007, any serious adverse events reported to a dietary supplement manufacturer must be reported to FDA within 15 days of the manufacturer receiving the adverse event report. Adverse drug events can also be reported directly to the FDA via the MedWatch program.  https://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm

Your Thompson Pharmacist is a reliable go-to for helping you select appropriate vitamin therapy.  Many drugs that are prescribed by your doctor can deplete certain vitamins and minerals.  Have your Thompson Pharmacist check your medication list and make appropriate vitamin recommendations. Go Ahead and ASK, at Thompson Pharmacy…it’s all for YOU!