Health News 2015: Thousands of Emergency Room Visits Blamed on Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements
(Photo : Pixabay / MelSi / CC)

A new study has revealed that the usage of dietary supplements is responsible for sending over 20,000 people to emergency rooms in the U.S. each year.

According to the researchers, this is due to the complications or side effects associated with taking supplements.

Based on the results of the study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who are commonly affected by the effects of taking dietary supplements are people between 20 to 34 years old.

The researcher said that in most cases, the patients experience palpitations, chest pains, and increased heart rate after taking supplements that promote weight loss and boost energy. According to the data the researchers collected, about 23,000 emergency room cases are linked to dietary supplements. Around 2,150 of these result in hospitalizations.

"People may not realize dietary supplements can cause adverse effects but each year thousands of people are treated in emergency departments because of adverse events related to these supplements," Dr. Andre Geller, a medical officer of the CDC and lead author of the study told CBS News.

Aside from adults, Geller noted that the study showed that a number of children also get sent to emergency rooms after ingesting dietary supplements by accident.

"More than 20 percent of emergency room visits were young children getting into supplements meant for somebody else," he said.

Unlike prescriptions drugs in the U.S., dietary supplements are not required to go through the approval process of the FDA, which is why they can be easily marketed to the public by manufacturers. In fact, according to a report by the NPR, U.S. citizens spend a total average of $14 billion yearly for these kinds of drugs.

Although these help treat a number of conditions such as weak immune systems, colds and arthritis, Geller and his colleagues strongly advice the public to take extreme precaution especially when taking supplements.

When dealing with these drugs, the best option is to consult doctors first in order to learn more about their ingredients and possible side effects.

"Show your doctor what you want to take and discuss it with them because it's very hard for a lay person to understand what the ingredients are within a supplement," Dr. Andrew Greenberg, head of Tuft University's Obesity and Metabolism Laboratory said according to CBS News.

As for those who currently have dietary supplements at home, it would be best to store them at a high and secure place to make sure that they cannot be reached by children.

The study conducted by Dr. Geller and his team were published on October 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Tags Dietary Supplements, Drugs, health, Side Effects, Study

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