If you operate a pharmacy that’s considering unveiling a line of store brand dietary supplements, the supplement labels you use for the new products could impact the health of customers.
Below, we take a look at five key features of dietary supplement labels that your label provider should include on the labels you order, excluding the obvious features of listing the supplement name on the front of the container and posting recommended dosage information on the reverse.
- Undesirable Side Effect Warnings
Like many prescription medications, some vitamins have undesirable side effects. For example, Vitamin C pills that are chewed can weaken tooth enamel. It’s roughly the same thing that happens when you drink a glass of lemonade that’s heavy on lemon. This side effect doesn’t put lives at risk, so it’s crucial — meaning it should be considered — but not critical.
- Critical Side Effect Warnings
Let’s say that one of your new store brand supplements is St. John’s Wort — an over the counter (OTC) herb that’s reputed to have positive effects on clinical depression. However, if you stack the herb on top of an antidepressant you’re already taking, you could experience a life threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. This deserves a critical side effect warning.
- Overdose Warnings
Many people think you can’t overdose on dietary supplements because they’re sold OTC and don’t require a physician’s permission. However, taking too much of a vitamin can indeed cause serious health problems. For example, taking too much vitamin D can cause permanent damage to your kidneys and heart. With many vitamins, you can have too much of a good thing.
- Disclaimers About Usage
Just because a supplement is anecdotally known to be a good remedy for a health ailment doesn’t mean it should be considered on par with prescription medications. In fact, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules and regulations, it’s illegal to promote dietary supplements in this manner.
For example, while it helps people relax, valerian root extract should ideally have a disclaimer that indicates it’s not intended to replace medical therapy for sleep disorders.
- Pregnancy Warnings
There are lots of supplements pregnant women should avoid taking that would be fine for them to take otherwise. For example, blue cohosh and pennyroyal are considered toxic during pregnancy, while andrographis, boldo, essential oils, feverfew, juniper, licorice, nettle, red clover, rosemary, shepherd’s purse, and yarrow are considered dangerous and should be taken with extreme caution. Listing pregnancy warnings helps parents care for unborn children.
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