How do we know when a drug, supplement, or herbal remedy causes harm? Most people assume that clinical trials provide the only mechanism for determining adverse outcomes but actually, consumers can report concerns directly to the FDA as well.
Did you know that the FDA accepts reports from consumers and healthcare professionals alike on their website, MedWatch Online Reporting?
Herbs, supplements, and “natural” medicines are bioactive substances that many people use to treat diseases and conditions. They are not regulated for safety and efficacy, and are only now being scrutinized for accuracy of their contents. Since we’re behind the ball on rigorously testing supplements (though it’s great that NCCAM is evaluating as many of them as their resources allow), it’s important for consumers of herbs and supplements to report adverse outcomes (like allergic reactions, harmful side effects, etc.) to the FDA. How else will your fellow consumers find out about these unwanted side effects?
MedWatch also welcomes reports about adverse outcomes from prescription and OTC medications, medical devices, or cosmetic products. I think this is an underutilized resource and could greatly improve public safety if we all pitched in and reported concerning events when they happen.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.