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September 17, 2003

Drugs Alias Dietary Supplements

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dr DeAngelis is Editor and Dr Fontanarosa is Executive Deputy Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2003;290(11):1519-1520. doi:10.1001/jama.290.11.1519

Dietary supplements encompass a wide spectrum of products, including vitamins and minerals, herbal products and botanical agents, and extracts from organs or glands.1 Herbal products and other botanical agents are among the most popular dietary supplements. These diverse products are used by millions of people in the United States and account for billions of dollars in sales each year.2 As with other dietary supplements, herbal products are readily available and widely promoted, usually with unsubstantiated claims of benefit and seldom with any mention of potential harms.3 New findings reported in this issue of THE JOURNAL illustrate the inappropriate claims for some commonly used herbal products, provide new information on the mechanisms of herb-drug interactions, and underscore the need for more effective regulation of dietary supplements.