We previously reported that some patients used dietary supplements with their medication without consulting with physicians. Dietary supplements and medicines may interact with each other when used concomitantly, resulting in health problems. An Internet survey was conducted on 2109 people who concomitantly took dietary supplements and medicines in order to address dietary supplement usage in people who regularly take medicines in Japan. A total of 1508 patients (two admitted patients and 1506 ambulatory patients) and 601 non-patients, who were not consulting with physicians, participated in this study. Purpose for dietary supplement use was different among ages. Dietary supplements were used to treat diseases in 4.0% of non-patients and 11.9% of patients, while 10.8% of patients used dietary supplements to treat the same diseases as their medication. However, 70.3% of patients did not declare dietary supplement use to their physicians or pharmacists because they considered the concomitant use of dietary supplements and medicines to be safe. A total of 8.4% of all subjects realized the potential for adverse effects associated with dietary supplements. The incidence of adverse events was higher in patients who used dietary supplements to treat their disease. Communication between patients and physicians is important for avoiding the adverse effects associated with the concomitant use of dietary supplements and medicines.
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