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In the anti-drugs club – News Knowledge: Medicine and Psychology


Nose flows, head is heavy, work calls – in this case, many people resort to a combination for a cold. However, in a new professional report from Stiftung Warentest, these combined products do not work well. German examiners examined 2000 freely available medicines. 500 of these drugs ended up in an "unsuitable" category, including popular combined medicines for colds or headaches (see tables at the end of the text).

A group of pharmacists and doctors, led by pharmaceutical professor Gerd Glaeske, examined the drugs. Experts are more stringent than the regulatory authorities. They reviewed all the high quality studies that have been published so far, and not just the efficacy studies that a manufacturer must prepare prior to approval. The side effects were further examined in more detail.

Some medicines, such as Vicks Medinait or Aspirin Complex, are also available in Switzerland. Some are simply different. What sold the German pharmacy as a double crack, the Swiss trade called contra pain. Are Lemocin in the shape of a throat throat here known as Mebu-Lemon.

In Switzerland, you also get preparations that are slightly different from German, they may have more than one ingredient as German. The German Doregrippine, which is on the Stiftung Warentest list, has two active ingredients in combination, also in the Swiss Neocytrain. The neocytron has two other ingredients.

Common side effects

For combined preparation, experts report several problems. Manufacturers mix different substances in them. For cold medicines, this is often an analgesic, such as acetaminophen or acetylsalicylic acid, a mucosal decongestant preparation, a cough inhibitor, a mucus remover, and sometimes a medicine for allergies.

"The risk of unwanted or toxic effects is disproportionately increased with the number of drugs used simultaneously," says Stefanie Krämer, professor at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. ETH Zurich, The active ingredients do not affect only one another, but the side effects become more acute.

Who takes three or four active ingredients at the same time, which may have several side effects.

"Side effects are intensifying when using combined products," says Thomas Rosemann, professor of medicine, who is the Family Medicine Institute at University of Zurich passes. So, who takes three or four medicines simultaneously, not only three or four times more side effects, but maybe more than once. In addition, it can cause adverse reactions to the decomposition of medicinal products in the body. The urine is secreted by chemical substances or broken by liver. In the liver, in particular, it can lead to problematic interactions in the worst case.

The second problem is the different half-life of the active ingredients. "While one does not work against the clogged nose, the other has a high degree of heat in the coughing body," says Krämer. Patients took the second dose and then reached the toxic values ​​in the slower metabolised substance. So if you really need more than one active substance, you should take the medicine better in precisely measured single doses.

"Caffeine is not a drug"

Combined painkillers are also poorly endangered in the assessment. Mixing acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid would not be better for pain, but would cause the same problems as other combinations. In addition, the testers sort the mixtures with caffeine as unfit. "Caffeine is not a cure," says Pharmacist Krämer. The risk of taking too much analgesic, if you wake up, climbs. Anyone who suffers from migraine and feels a beneficial effect through caffeine should better drink a strong espresso and take the painkiller individually.

The Pharmasuisse Pharmaceutical Association commented on the Stiftung Warentest assessment on request: "Not all preparations are useful for each person or a known application." Therefore, individual advice in a pharmacy is important.

«Just stay in bed»

During the cold, all the symptoms rarely suffer. Often the nose is the first, cough later. Is throat scratching, and nasal mucous membranes still cause small problems. However, experts advise that the blocked nose is not treated with a systemic medicine, a substance that works all over the body. Pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine are active ingredients that swallow them to swell the nose. They have a vasoconstrictive effect and are actually stimulants that appear on the doping lists.

"Influenza-like infections are pain-free, such as paracetamol, which also reduces fever and nasal spray is usually sufficient," says Rosemann, a family doctor. There will be no medical evidence for the removal of cough and mucus, which is often added to the combined preparation. "Shower on the nose with salt water works better." And best of all, just stay in bed. "

Created: July 23, 2019, 8:30 pm

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