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Syrup anti-cough lozenges anti-cold : the “black list” of medicines to avoid

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R hume, cough, sore throat, flu and intestinal disorders : drugs available without a prescription, nearly one in two is “to be avoided”, according to the magazine 60 million consumers, which is unveiling on Tuesday a “black list” of products among those sold.

62 drugs “scrutinized” under the supervision of professor Jean-Paul Giroud, pharmacologist and clinician recognized, a member of the Academy of medicine, and Helen Berthelot, a pharmacist, only 21 % of them (13) as Vicks Vaporub, Imodiumcaps, Gaviscon mint, Forlax 10 G, Maalox, sugar-free (but Xolaam, his twin ignored is sold approximately 2-fold less), are “preferred”. “They have a benefit/risk ratio is favourable,” says the magazine in a special series dedicated to drugs without prescription. “Anyway, the duration of use should be short”, points out professor Giroud.

One in two is to be avoided

A third party is classified as a “failing better” : their effectiveness is low or non-proven but they have no, little or very seldom side effects, ” continues the journal of the national Institute of consumption (INC). In contrast, among these 62 drugs, nearly one in two (28) is simply “to be avoided”, the risk/benefit ratio is unfavourable for self-medication.

In a good place on this “black list” are the ‘stars anti-cold” as Actifed Cold and DoliRhume and Nurofen Cold. These are cocktails of two to three active compounds : a vasoconstrictor (stuffy nose), an antihistamine (for runny nose) and paracetamol or ibuprofen (headache). These all-in-one dual risks of overdose and extremely serious adverse effects (accidents, cardiovascular, neurological, dizziness…), according to 60 Million.

“In sum, to decongest a blocked nose, we put a bazooka at the disposal of the sick”, according to this out-of-series which evokes including pseudoephedrine. A product that refuses for example to sell the manager of a pharmacy to bordeaux, tells the journal. “This substance is exposed to risks of cardiovascular accidents and STROKES,” observes professor Giroud, which qualifies those drugs to be avoided “dangerous”. “They should be removed from the market,” he told AFP.

“Effective zero”

According to him, medicines pseudoephedrine oral are sold without a prescription then they deliver up to 30 times the dose of those administered by the nasal route and which are available only on prescription. For medicines intended to relieve cough, balance of 60 Million consumers is not much better, with only a medicine to be preferred and 60% avoided.

“This is the carnage compared to the study that we had done in 2015, where there were 35 % of medications preferred and only 50 % to be avoided,” writes the magazine. This degradation comes from the fact that, since July, the syrups or tablets of dextromethorphan (derived opioid), a substance effective certain cough dry and fatiguing, is no longer accessible without a prescription. And this is because of a diversion “marginal” of this substance by teens (via cocktail “purple drank”” mixing soft drinks and pharmaceutical products), explains to the AFP Adeline Trégouët, editor-in-chief delegate of the magazine.

READ – Purple drank : this drug small-scale and devastating that appeals to young people

4 000 medicines on sale without prescription

there are 4 000 the-counter drugs without a prescription, number, including, for example, bottles of syrup of different sizes, or boxes with more or less of tablets, and among them nearly 600 are in direct access at the pharmacy, after the Pr Giroud, author of”self-Medication. The expert guide” (edition La Martinière, 2017). “There is a problem of information, the public knows the medicines that the advertising however it is not truly informative,” says the pharmacologist.

The magazine pin, amongst other products of the throat lozenges-based anti-inflammatory such as Strefen sugar free, which presents an unnecessary risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Also in the sights of the fluidifiants bronchial who have never proven their effectiveness and may be a source of allergy and irritation of the digestive tract, according to professor Giroud. More generally, “if the zero risk does not exist, unfortunately the efficiency to zero, it is indisputable for more than 55% of medication medication available on the market, is unworthy of this specialist.

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