How vitamin supplements and your diet could mess with your medication

Doctors typically prescribe several drugs to patients with mental health conditions in order to treat the various symptoms. For example, a person with bipolar disorder may be prescribed one drug to treat mania and another to treat depression. But there’s limited evidence on how combinations of drugs interact, or how diet and nutrition influence their effects.  Our study on the effects of combinations of psychiatric drugs and a common dietary supplement had surprising results – results that show just how poorly understood and under-researched this area is.
We found that combining drug therapies has long-term benefits for treating depression in patients with bipolar disorder. However, taking a folic acid supplement might interfere with the drugs’ therapeutic effect.

‘Real world’ effects

Although treatment of mental health disorders with multiple drugs is the norm, there’s not much evidence about which combinations help to keep patients well in the long-term, and how these may be affected by diet and nutritional supplements. Our study addressed these problems by investigating whether a combination of commonly-used drugs really is better than using a single drug. We also examined whether the action of these drugs is influenced by a vitamin supplement.