From basic vitamins to exotic herbs, supplements are growing in popularity as a natural alternative to over-the-counter and prescription medications. However, natural doesn’t mean harmless. Many supplement users don’t realize that the products they’re taking can have dangerous side effects and that supplements are not regulated in the same way as medications. Here are four steps you can take if you have experienced side effects from a supplement.
See a Doctor
The first and most important thing to do when you experience troubling side effects from a supplement is to see a doctor right away. If you can’t get an appointment with your regular doctor, visit an urgent care facility. It’s important to get evaluated before the effects wear off and the supplement leaves your system. Not only is it important for legal reasons, but getting help can also decrease the chance of lasting effects on your health.
Check the Instructions
Once your condition is stabilized, it’s time to figure out why you experienced dangerous side effects. Often side effects are due to user errors like taking too much of the product. A common error is combining a supplement with another supplement or medication that interacts with it. For example, taking St. John’s wort with antidepressants can trigger seizures and mixing melatonin with sedatives can cause you to stop breathing.
Consult a Lawyer
If you’re certain that you took the product correctly, consider consulting a lawyer. Because supplements are not regulated like medications, there are often quality and consistency issues with these products that can lead to serious side effects. A personal injury attorney can take your case to court and help you recover expenses plus compensation for pain and suffering. Remember to keep documentation of all your expenses, such as hospital bills and missed days of work, along with photos and medical charts.
Contact the Company
Not ready to pursue legal action just yet? Try calling or writing to the company. The manufacturer may offer you compensation in the form of a refund, replacement or even a settlement to take care of your medical bills and lost wages. Back up your claims with thorough documentation and be patient when taking this route. You may have to go through several departments and spend hours on the phone before getting your dues.
Remember, preventing side effects from supplements is always better than dealing with the consequences later. Choose the brand and type of supplement you take carefully and consider consulting a doctor first to discuss whether you really need supplements and which ones are best for you.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.