International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 451–459 | Cite as

Identification and evaluation of drug–supplement interactions in Hungarian hospital patients

  • Anna VéghEmail author
  • Erzsébet Lankó
  • András Fittler
  • Róbert György Vida
  • Ildikó Miseta
  • Gábor Takács
  • Lajos Botz
Research Article


Background The increasing number of patients taking supplementary products together with prescribed medicines has become a new challenge for health care systems. These products may influence therapy outcomes by inducing unwanted effects. Particularly concerning is the potential for harmful interactions between prescribed medicines and supplementary products. Objective The aims of the study were to evaluate supplement use, to identify and analyse potential interactions, and to assess the efficiency of computerised interaction screening. Setting Participants of the study were inpatients and outpatients of a Hungarian university hospital. Method A cross-sectional point-of-care survey of 200 patients was carried out. Data was collected through personal interviews and a review of the medical records. Drug–drug, drug–supplement and supplement–supplement interactions were analysed with three interaction databases (Lexi-Interact Online, Medscape Drug Interaction Checker and Mediris). Main outcome measure Prevalence of supplementary product use, number of medicines and supplementary products per patient, procurement sources of products, number of potentially severe interactions. Results There was a marked difference between data obtained from patient interviews and the medical records. 85.5 % of the surveyed patients took supplementary products during the 2 weeks prior to the interview. The average number of prescribed medicines and supplementary products were 7.8 and 2.5, respectively. Women were more likely to take supplements than men. There was no significant difference in supplement use between patients under or over 60 years, between inpatients and outpatients and among patients in various wards. 39.4 % of supplementary products were purchased outside a regulated pharmacy environment. Potentially severe drug–supplement interactions were detected with 45.2 % of supplement users; however the majority of interactions were not included in one or the other of the three databases. In addition to that the risk ratings of the same interactions varied greatly between databases. Conclusion A significant number of patients are exposed to potential drug interactions with supplementary products; however interagreement among interaction databases is poor. Our data suggest that a full medication history should specifically address the intake of supplements.


Drug–supplement interaction Herb–drug interaction Herbal and dietary supplement Hungary Interaction database Interaction screening 



We would like to thank László Técsi for reviewing the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Végh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erzsébet Lankó
    • 2
  • András Fittler
    • 1
  • Róbert György Vida
    • 1
  • Ildikó Miseta
    • 1
  • Gábor Takács
    • 1
  • Lajos Botz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutics and Central Clinical Pharmacy, Medical SchoolUniversity of PécsPecsHungary
  2. 2.First Department of Internal Medicine, Clinical CentreUniversity of PécsPecsHungary

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