December 27, 2016
Drug-induced nutrient depletion is a widespread problem, but it’s one that many of your patients may not be aware of.
A large number of prescription medications deplete the body of vital nutrients, which can lead to unwanted side effects and potentially worsen chronic conditions.
Your independent community pharmacy can help patients on these medications maintain a healthy nutritional status when pharmacists recommend the appropriate over-the-counter (OTC) products to boost nutrient levels.
And, by recommending OTC products to patients for use with their prescriptions, you can increase your pharmacy’s front-end sales.
As a refresher, here are 10 of the most common types of nutrient-depleting medications, and the nutrients patients should look for in OTC products to get their levels back on track.
Beta blockers lower blood pressure by reducing the force and speed of the heartbeat.
They interfere with the production of the Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is essential for energy production. Additionally, they reduce the production of melatonin, resulting in sleep disturbance.
OTC recommendation: When taking beta blockers, patients should consider taking CoQ10 daily along with melatonin at bedtime.
Thiazide diuretics are used to treat hypertension and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
They’re most known for depleting potassium, but also deplete other minerals that need to be supplemented.
OTC recommendation: Patients taking these diuretics should consider taking daily supplements including potassium, calcium magnesium and zinc.
Statin drugs are prescribed for lowering cholesterol.
They deplete the body of CoQ10, which can lead to serious side effects, including muscle pain and weakness, depression and heart failure.
OTC recommendation: When taking statins, patients should consider taking CoQ10 daily to avoid the serious risks of depletion.
Acid-reducing drugs and antacids are used to treat heartburn, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and peptic ulcers.
Antacids work to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which impairs the breakdown of food into nutrients. Other acid-suppressing drugs increase the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency and decrease the absorption of important nutrients.
OTC recommendation: Patients taking these medications should consider taking calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression, while antipsychotics are used to manage psychosis.
To work properly, these drugs require an ongoing supply of B vitamins. Additionally, medication containing lithium carbonate for bipolar disease depletes folic acid while tricyclic antidepressants diminish CoQ10 levels.
OTC recommendation: Patients taking antidepressants or antipsychotics should consider taking B vitamins, folic acid and CoQ10, depending on the specific medication.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections.
Though the specific effects may vary, antibiotics are generally known for being nutrient depleting. They also disrupt the digestive system by killing “good” bacteria.
OTC recommendation: When taking antibiotics, patients should consider taking vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and inositol, or a multivitamin that includes a combination of B vitamins and inositol. Additionally, patients should take a probiotic.
Oral hypoglycemic agents allow glucose to enter the cells and reduce high blood sugar.
The longer these drugs are used and the higher the dose, the lower a person’s B12 levels drop. Folic acid is also depleted in people with Type 2 diabetes who take these medications.
OTC recommendation: Patients who take oral hypoglycemic drugs should consider taking vitamin B12 and folic acid.
ACE inhibitors dilate the blood vessels in order to lower blood pressure and prevent heart failure.
These medications deplete zinc, which can lead to impaired smell and taste, hair loss, skin rashes and other more serious conditions.
OTC recommendation: Patients who take ACE inhibitors should consider taking a zinc supplement.
Corticosteroids are steroid hormones used to treat severe inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
These prescriptions deplete a number of nutrients including calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis.
OTC recommendation: When taking corticosteroids, patients should consider taking calcium magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D and folic acid, among others.
Hormone replacement therapy is used to replace female hormones that are no longer produced after menopause. Oral contraceptives are used to prevent pregnancy.
Both of these prescriptions deplete B vitamins, folic acid and magnesium, which can affect hearth health and mood.
OTC recommendation: When taking hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives, women should consider taking vitamin B6, folic acid and magnesium.
Take advantage of these nutrition education opportunities.