Hyderabad: Ram Prakash (name changed), a university football player has been consuming herbal supplements on a regular basis, like most students who play sports or train at the gym.
He recently has been diagnosed by his doctor as having high risk of internal bleeding. His blood clotting mechanism has been compromised, as a result of which he has been asked to refrain from participating in sporting activities for a while, to avoid the risk of injury.
Doctors say that these days many students are resorting to the consumption of protein, vitamin and herbal supplements.
Dr Hari Kishan, a senior general physician, says, “With the increase in the number of supplements available in the market, one cannot be sure of the materials used in their production. They may be crude formulations for which the drug interactions are not known. Most sportspersons take painkillers because of joint pains.”
He says that the contents of herbal supplements are unknown in the medical community, which makes it difficult to predict their side effects.
Doctors often check the platelet counts of patients before prescribing drugs. “Patients suffering from low platelet counts or haemophilia are generally not prescribed drugs. But these days, people take painkillers without considering their side effects. Children who indulge in physical activity resort to these practices and it is difficult to monitor drug usage,” says Dr Hari Kishan.
He cautions against the consumption of supplements due to peer pressure without having knowledge about their ingredients and without a doctor’s prescription.
Not all drugs and supplements suit all people. Doctors say that though elderly persons consume a wider variety of drugs, young people are more likely to experience adverse drug reactions because the drugs they consume have not been prescribed by doctors. “Sports students often swap information about painkillers and supplements. Consumption of a drug is a step that should carefully be thought through,” says Dr T. Unnikrishnan, a general physician....