Topic of the Month
Drug-induced micronutrient insufficiencies
1 March 2012
The use of medication worldwide is growing continually, not least because of the rising age of the population. Today there are many people who take more than three different kinds of medication daily (1,2). In highly developed countries, it is particularly common for patients to be prescribed medication long-term, most frequently for the treatment of widespread chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. It is also a common practice in those regions to take over-the-counter medicines, including painkillers and medication for stomach ulcers (3,4). When several kinds of medication are taken concomitantly, the risks and side effects increase. In contrast to other adverse drug reactions, the inter-action between medications and micronutrients is only gradually gaining the attention of experts and the wider public. A number of medicines influence the metabolism of vitamins, minerals and trace elements in such a way that they could lead to insufficiencies or even deficiency symptoms in patients (5,6).