The medical management of many diseases and conditions can include either restriction or provision of specific essential nutrients. When such nutrients are needed, there are often both prescription and nonprescription products available, as in the case of nicotinic acid or omega-3 fatty acids. Although they may seem to contain similar ingredients, there may be important differences between the prescription and dietary-supplement preparations. The manufacturing of prescription pharmaceutical products is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which mandates standards for consistency and quality assurance. Dietary supplements are available to consumers under the provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, for which the FDA has the burden of proving a dietary supplement is harmful rather than requiring the manufacturer prove that the supplement is safe. Consumers and medical professionals should be aware of the important qualitative and quantitative differences between the FDA-approved prescription formulations and dietary supplements, particularly when an essential nutrient is part of the medical management of a disease or condition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics