How to Take Vitamins With Prescription Drugs

Taking vitamins with prescription drugs can present a challenge as the number of potential complications varies by the type of prescription drug you are taking versus the vitamin type and other factors such as dietary choices. Although taking something as benignly named as "dietary supplements" makes them sound harmless, they can interfere with your prescriptions.

Just because you can swallow them together doesn't mean you should. (Image: studiodr/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Create and carry a list of all the vitamins, herbs and supplements you take daily and ask you doctor about any possible interactions when you receive a new prescription for a medication. This list will allow the physician to compare every vitamin you are taking with the newly prescribed medicine -- he will know which vitamins you may have to drop.

Step 2

Talk to the pharmacist when you pick up your prescription. Prescription medications usually come with medication education sheets -- read them thoroughly, especially the drug warnings and interactions section. Don't hesitate to ask about a certain vitamin or supplement if you do not see any reference to it on the sheet.

Step 3

Use caution when you take prescription drugs that cause or limit clotting, or your bleeding ability. If you take certain drugs with vitamin E, for example, you can experience potential bleeding complications such as a hemorrhage. Conversely, warfarin is a drug used to prevent clotting. Vitamin K helps clot the blood, so the two should never be taken together.

Step 4

Avoid taking your vitamin C in conjunction with antacids that contain aluminum, as the aluminum and ascorbic acid can bind together. In addition, vitamin C consumption can impact prescription drugs such as barbiturates, chemotherapy, and prescription drugs that contain acetaminophen, including narcotic painkiller combinations. Vitamin C may alter the way you store or use the drug in your body, either rendering the drug ineffective or causing toxicity in some cases.

Tip

When in doubt, talk to your physician before taking vitamins with prescription drugs.

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