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Ads abound for products that claim to treat or prevent serious health conditions. Unfortunately, these products often are unproven and useless. Sometimes the ads even make false promises for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – conditions for which science has no cure.

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to certain companies making unproven claims that their products can treat or cure Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions. Many of these products are sold on websites and social media platforms – and called “dietary supplements” or natural remedies. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily safe.

Products that claim to do it all often do nothing. So even though you want to believe the promises, be skeptical, and avoid products that claim to cure incurable conditions or are promoted with phrases like “scientific breakthrough,” “ancient remedy,” or “miraculous cure.”

The reality is that phony miracle products can be dangerous, and not just because of interactions with medicines you’re already taking. They also might cause you to delay or stop proven medical treatment ordered by – or available from – your physician. They might also delay you from making important dietary and lifestyle changes to help your condition. And some may contain unlabeled and unapproved drugs, which can cause serious injury or death.

Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional before you try any new treatment.

For more information, see Dietary Supplements. To find reliable sources of information about diseases and their treatments, visit MedlinePlus.gov and Healthfinder.gov. To learn more about alternative and complementary medicine, visit nccam.nih.gov.

 

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