INTRODUCTION: The concurrent use of prescription drugs and health supplement products (HSP) is a concern among patients with chronic diseases. This study aimed to investigate the concurrent use of prescription drugs and HSP among patients with chronic diseases in suburban and rural area of Sarawak, Malaysia. The potential drug-HSP interactions were also assessed.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional multicenter study involved seven government districts hospitals. Patients who prescribed with three or more chronic prescription drugs were recruited from the outpatient pharmacy of the hospitals by using convenient sampling. The patients perceptions and practices of HSP consumption were assessed by a questionnaire. The patients current used of prescription drugs and HSP were also assessed.
RESULTS: A total of 350 patients were recruited in this study and 84 patients (24.0%) found to have actively using HSP. Slightly more than half (55.7%) of the patients perceived that there were potential interactions between HSP and prescription drugs. Nevertheless, 56.0% of the patients never consult their healthcare providers regarding potential drug-HSP interaction. Besides, 54.0% of patients never search for information about the potential interaction. A total of 80 cases of potential drug-HSP interactions were identified. The interactions were mostly involved antihypertensive drugs (66.3%) and antidiabetic agents (17.5%). Vitamin B3 (niacin) (33.8%) and fish oil (omega-3) supplements (26.3%) were the most common HSP involved in the interactions.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the patients have lack of awareness regarding potential drug-HSP interactions. Healthcare providers should be alert about the concurrent use of HSP and prescription drugs among the patients.