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Know the Science: How Medications and Supplements Can Interact

If You’re Going To Have Surgery

If you’re going to have surgery, talk to your health care providers as far in advance of the operation as possible and tell them about all dietary supplements that you’re taking.

Some dietary supplements may cause problems during surgery because:

  • They may affect your response to anesthetics or to other medicines that you may be given before, during, or after the operation
  • They may increase your risk of bleeding.

Some health care providers will ask patients to discontinue all herbal supplements several weeks before having elective surgery (surgery that can be scheduled in advance).

If you’re having an emergency operation, you won’t have a chance to stop taking supplements ahead of time. But it’s still important for you or a family member to tell your surgeon and anesthesia provider about all dietary supplements that you’re taking so that they can be prepared for any problems that might occur.

Nurse Taking Blood Pressure