Vitamins and Herbal Supplements

Taking vitamins and herbal supplements during treatment can create unwanted side effects and/or interact negatively with other medicines. Let the doctor or nurse know about any vitamins or herbal supplements you take, especially if you are scheduled for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a special procedure.

These vitamins, medicines and supplements can increase the risk of bleeding:

  • Aspirin
  • Fish oil
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Gingko
  • Ginseng
  • Green Tea
  • Vitamin E

These supplements can cause other health problems:

  • Echinacea - Alters immune function, increases the risk of allergic reaction and counteracts with immunosuppressant medications
  • Ephedra - Raises blood pressure and heart rate
  • Ginseng - Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Kava and Valerian - Make sedatives and anesthesia more potent
  • St. John’s Wort - Interferes with many medicines and increases sunburn risk

 People with a history of estrogen receptor-positive cancer, should not use:

  • Black cohosh
  • Ginseng
  • Red clover
  • Saw palmetto
  • Wild yam