Nutraceutical drug use often ignored by clinicians

July 23, 2010

Although use of nutraceuticals and nonprescription over-the-counter drugs may be high among patients, cardiologists and cardiologists in training may largely ignore the use of these agents among patients, according to new research.

Ann Inter Med. 2010;153:65-66 [July 6, 2010]

Although the use of nutraceuticals and nonprescription over-the-counter (OTC) drugs may be high among patients, cardiologists and cardiologists-in-training may largely ignore the use of these agents among their patients, according to researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. A clinical pharmacist observed cardiologists and cardiologists-in-training and patient interactions and then questioned patients after clinicians left the room. The pharmacist identified 54 patients who were using 86 nutraceuticals and 45 OTC drugs. However, cardiovascular clinicians identified use of nutraceuticals and OTC drugs during only seven patient encounters. In addition, cardiology specialists queried patients about nutraceutical and nonprescription OTC drug use during 2 percent of patient encounters, and cardiologists-in-training queried patients about the use of these agents during 16.3 percent of patient encounters. Yet, clinicians estimated they questioned patients about nutraceutical and nonprescription OTC drug use during 47.1 percent of patient encounters.