- The American Association of Poison Control Centers has
posted their annual report for 2005, the last year reported on their website
_www.aapcc.org_ It shows again that dietary supplements are very safe.
The total number of deaths loosely associated with dietary supplements
was 27. Of these the highest concentration is for minerals including Potassium
4, Magnesium 2 and Sodium 2. These minerals are often used in the treatment
and prevention of Heart Disease.
- According to the National Center for Health Statistics
of the Center for Disease Control, HEART DISEASE was the leading cause
of death in 2004, the last year on their website http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/preliminarydeaths04_tables.pdf#2
_ responsible for over 654,000 deaths. Some of these patients used supplements
and supplements cannot guarantee that everyone can be saved.
- Melatonin, a hormone related to sleep appeared
to be associated with 4 deaths. This is the first mention of Melatonin
since 2001. There have been numerous studies in the medline database referring
to studies published in Medical Journals that indicate Melatonin has some
anti-oxidant properties and has been used successfully in treatment of
cancer, epilepsy seizures associated with the sleep cycle and some psychiatric
disorders. Thousands died from these conditions and Supplements are not
a guarantee of survival. The remaining numbers are low single digit numbers,
widely distributed so as to indicate that all of these numbers are probably
random statistical reporting errors without any significance.
- These consistently low numbers are in marked contrast
to the record of Adverse Events attributable to prescription drugs. The
Journal of the American Medical Association of April 15,1998;295(5):1200-1205
reported that there were 106,000 deaths attributable to prescription drugs.
These were not overdoses or medical errors, giving the wrong drug to the
wrong patient, but drugs properly prescribed and taken as directed. Unfortunately
drugs have not gotten any safer. In the April 12,2003 issue of the New
England Journal of Medicine,2003;348:1556-64, researchers from Harvard
related hospitals and the Harvard School of Public Health, performed a
prospective study of outpatients who received at least 1 prescription drug.
Of 661 patients replying to the follow up survey (55% of the sample), 25%
had adverse drug reactions. Of these 13% were considered serious. Very
often frightened patients use dietary supplements precisely because they
are more natural and safer than prescription drugs. This year the format
of the Poison Control Report includes a brief narrative description of
some of the deaths 1261 deaths brought to the attention of the American
Association of Poison Control Centers for 2005. This was 2.14% of the deaths.
From the samples given I was not able to corroborate most of the 27 incidents
associated with supplements. Only 2 incidents were described the 1 ephedra,
and 1 Ferrous Sulfate-an iron supplement, but that case was classified
a suicide attempt, but the others might not have been selected to be described
in the report.