Reasons to Stop Supplements Before Surgery
Learn why you may need to stop taking certain supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin and others before you have surgery.
If you have surgery scheduled soon, you may need to set aside your over-the-counter dietary supplements for a while. Some supplements can interact with drugs given before, during or after orthopedic surgery.
“The main problem with using [supplements] is their interaction with anticoagulants used around the time of surgery,” according to David T. Rispler, MD, director of the orthopedic residency program at Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners.
Anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin) are used to reduce the risk of blood clots, and interactions with supplements can lead to a greater risk of infection and the need for additional surgery.
Dr. Rispler generally recommends that patients stop taking supplements at least two weeks before surgery and do not resume use until after anticoagulant medications have cleared from their system.
“Patients should discuss [with their doctor] their use of all medications, including herbal and over-the-counter remedies, prior to undergoing surgery to decide when is the best time to discontinue and restart them,” Dr. Rispler says.
Supplements known to interact with anticoagulants include:
- Cat’s claw
It’s always a good idea to have an updated list of medications and supplements, both with your doctor and to bring with you to the hospital. Some hospitals may even require or request it. While interactions with anticoagulants is the biggest risk, it’s important to be open about all the supplements you take to make sure there won’t be any other interactions during or after surgery.
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