Patients should disclose all medications and supplements to their GP, says RCGP

Responding to the new British Journal Of General Practice study on natural remedies interfering with prescription medications, Chair of the Royal College of GPs Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “Our ageing population means that more people are living longer, often with more than one long-term condition and as a result, they are often, quite appropriately, taking multiple prescribed medications in order to treat and manage these conditions.

“What’s important is that the patient’s GP is aware of all the different medicines and supplements a patient is taking, so that we can keep an eye on the way they interact with each other. Patients may not think to mention to their GP what herbal medications or dietary supplements they may be taking, but this research is a useful reminder that patients should disclose all of the medication they are using, including any natural or herbal drugs, so that the GP can weigh up all of the benefits and risks and advise of any potential adverse interactions.

“GPs do have concerns about the over-medicalisation of patients and that’s why we are working with them to ensure they are only taking the medication they really need and that have evidence of benefit, so that they can live the best possible quality of life and not spend money on supplements that won’t help and may in fact cause harm.

“Another way GPs are encouraging patients to be healthy is by recommending activities such as community or volunteer groups, or exercise classes, so that patients are doing their very best to reduce reliance on medication for conditions which are lifestyle-related.”