Over-The-Counter Drug – Need to Know Its Benefits and Detriment

The OTC drug market has grown rapidly over the past few years. Thanks to the major players in the market, such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and GSK, focusing on OTC drug development and the conversion of prescription to OTC, the other market players have also been influenced. The diversity of pharmaceutical companies focusing on OTC has helped the market flourish with a faster growth rate.

Nevertheless, there are still many issues that hinder the market’s growth. Many safety problems are inherent to OTC drug purchase. With increasing safety issues, the government has tightened the rules to control purchase.

Time- and Money-saving
As of 2012, there are over 300,000 OTC drugs in the market, and according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), annually a total of 2.9 billion retail tips purchase OTC products. These drugs help the patients in saving time that is spent on doctor visits and diagnostics test for minor ailments. Also, this saves money for the consumers, which is needed to visit a physician and on prescription.

Cost-saving by Healthcare Systems
OTC medications reduce the necessity to visit the doctor/physician. This saves resources for the healthcare industry in particular, thereby allowing it to divert its resources to more pressing healthcare issues, which would require physician involvement, such as diagnosis and treatment procedures for serious conditions. OTC medicines provide access to safe medication for nearly 180 million patients, while, at the same time, saving capital for the healthcare industry. Self-care via these medications is estimated to contribute to savings as high as USD 5 billion to the taxpayers and consumers in the United States annually. As per CHPA, OTC medication saves around USD 102 billion for the US healthcare system annually.

Self-Control over Health
The OTC medications provide the liberty to patients to eliminate the need to visit a physician or other clinical setting for common ailments. Instead, they can easily procure medications to address their ailment by procuring drugs without a prescription. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, around 81% of the adult population is using OTC medications. It is being helpful in providing symptomatic relief to around 60 million people. The statistics show that the consumers are aware of their health conditions and are paying attention to the treatment. OTC medication helps people meet healthcare needs and empower individuals about health management.

Product Innovation
OTC drugs that can treat multiple symptoms are another example of innovative products. Innovation is also resulting in improved performance, in terms of speed, strength, etc., thus improving the length of the effect. The diversification of the product is also achieved, as targeting different age groups – children, adults, woman, and old people with different products – are emerging and will drive the OTC drug market in future. The manufacturers of OTC target the women group, resorting to angles like pregnancy, weight loss, and even self-expression, which leads to new innovations. Similarly, OTC brands target children groups, with innovative offerings that consider two key drivers: enhancing the fun look and feel, and making it easier for parents to administer the dose to their kids.

Teen Drug Abuse
According to available statistics, around 12% of teenagers have admitted having abused OTC cough syrup. The major abuse of cough-and-cold medicines is seen among the teen population. Other medications include the usage of pseudoephedrine, marijuana, and diet pills. The major reason behind OTC abuse is the lack of education in teens about the dangers associated with OTC drugs. The parents are not well-educated about the adverse effects of OTC drugs, nor do they show interest to take the advice of physicians on this. This ultimately leads to hazardous casualties that can affect health or even lead to death.

Usage among the Geriatric Population
According to statistics, 40% of the OTC drugs are used by the geriatric population of age 65 and above. The geriatric population suffers from one or more diseases and are always on multiple medications. Sometimes, the OTC drugs purchased can cause the risk of drug interactions, leading to adverse drug effects. Other OTC medications, such as motion sickness pills and painkillers, that are commonly used by the elders cause hallucinations, stomach, and kidney problems, which can be considered as dangerous side effects for the geriatric population.

Usage in the Pregnant Population
Most of OTC drug labels carry the precaution about whether it can be used by pregnant women or not. However, due to negligence, people tend to use OTC drugs without proper knowledge, which may lead to life-threating situations. OTC drugs, such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, should be avoided during the pregnancy, as they have shown adverse effects on unborn children or complications during delivery.

OTC Drugs through the Internet
With the development of the internet technology, medicines are now available at the doors. Sexual performance medicines are one of the products that are sold through the internet at a high rate. These medicines are used on over-dosages and are usually taken along with the alcohol. Research shows that sexual medicines have a reverse effect on sexual performance, when taken in combination with alcohol and can cause major heart problems.

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Comfy Feet, Healthy You

Our feet can be one of the most neglected aspects of our bodies, even though they do most of the hard work everyday. They are charged with carrying us through every trail life takes us on, and oftentimes they are stuffed deep in stinky, sweaty shoes. Take a peek at your feet right now. Are they loose and free and comfortable, or are they being neglected? I think one of the best things about growing up in South America is that I learned the importance of caring for my feet, as it was ranked right up there with dental care!

Brazilians value their foot health, and they treat their feet with the utmost care. Although every culture is different, some of the most serious side effects of bad health are neglected feet. For example, in diabetes, we check feet on every exam. This is because the first signs of complications from diabetes can often be seen in feet. What are your feet telling you about your health? Go ahead and buy those shoes that give them the extra comfort they need. Who knows, maybe that will help you be as active is you want to be as well. Here are some pointers on picking the right shoes, directly from Harvard:

Shop for shoes in the afternoon, as your feet expand throughout the day.
Wear socks that you would normally wear.
Walk in the shoes before purchasing, and trust your own comfort fit more than size!

As I think about the past 10 years in medical missions, I think the best stories are of being able to give someone the gift of new shoes. For many of us it’s easy to take for granted that we can have the right shoes we need. But, this is definitely a luxury in many parts of the world.

I think particularly of a woman I met in Africa, who walked five miles every day to work. Her feet looked so worn and tired, and all she had to wear were flip flops. Once I realized we wore the same size, I gave her my favorite running shoes that I was wearing that day. The colors looked so cheery on her feet, and definitely gave her an extra bounce as she walked the dirt road home. The look of relief on her face was priceless when I handed her those shoes. She could now walk to work with shoes that supported her. As I watched her step turn into a bounce, I was reminded how easy it is to take something as simple as good shoes for granted.

Nose Injuries – When There Is No Doctor

Injuries to the nose are not uncommon; yet, when they happen, people tend to panic. Instead of letting the situations “lead you by the nose”, follow these simple first-aid measures, and stay in control:

Your nose is not merely an organ of smell. It’s a filter, a temperature controller, a passageway and sometimes even an alarm system. It is closely connected with your eyes, mouth, ears and head, both cosmetically and physically. So, when it is injured, to treat it you’ve got to look beyond your nose.

“In order to treat any injury to the nose, you must first understand the nature and extent of the injury,” say ENT surgeons. “Basically, there are three kinds of injuries: those that involve the nose and the head; those that affect the nose and the face; those that pertain only to the nose. Only after the kind of injury has been ascertained can proper treatment or first aid follow.”

The first two kinds of injuries are usually the result of a violent, perilous impact, like a fall from a great height, or a road accident. When the nose and the head are injured – and such cases are obvious even to a layman – the damage is serious and can occasionally be fatal. In all probability the victim will be unconscious and to render first aid would be impossible. Your only course of action is to rush the victim to a hospital and leave him in the hands of the doctors.

If the head is not hurt, that is, if the injury is only to the front of the face, then check the extent of the damage. Any injury to the eye directly, or even to the area around the eye, will need a doctor’s attention. You can try to control the bleeding of the nose, if there is any, but the person should be taken quickly to the hospital. Probably he will need the attention of the ENT surgeon and the ophthalmologist.

Injury to the nose and to the area around it, that is, the sides and below, could mean damage to the sinuses and upper jaw. Ask the victim to make as if he is biting on something. Difficulty and pain in moving his mouth indicate probable fracture of the upper jaw. In this case, too, though you could try to control the bleeding from the nose, the victim needs medical attention. An ENT surgeon and a dental surgeon may have to work together to repair the damage. Therefore, such a case should be quickly taken to the hospital.

The third type of injury is more commonplace. In this kind of injury, first aid can be given, but again, it will depend upon the cause and nature of the injury. Injuries to the nose can be broadly grouped as: external wounds; fractures; obstruction by foreign objects; bleeding from the nostrils.

EXTERNAL INJURIES

External injuries like abrasions, bruises, cuts and punctures can be treated as you do wounds. Clean the affected area, apply an antiseptic and bandage. Slight abrasions or cuts will heal with adequate care. Deep and extensive wounds should be shown to a doctor.

Fractures of the nose are easily detectable from the distorted shape of the nose, the constant pain and swelling. Fractures have to be splinted and set right, which can only be done by an ENT specialist.

Those with children will b familiar with the third type of nasal injury – that is, blockage of the passage due to insertion of foreign objects into the nose. “” Often, the child may not be aware that he has done something he shouldn’t have, says ENT surgeon. “”So the object remains in the nose for days and is discovered only when infection sets in. then, either the parents notice that the child’s nose is swelling, or the child complains of pain in the nose.”

However, even if you know that the child has pushed something up his nose, don’t try to extricate it yourself. You could push it in even further. Sometimes, lightly blowing the nose helps to dislodge the object. But if the object is edged, it may scrape or bruise the nose and bleeding may result. So it’s safest to take the child to a doctor, preferably an ENT specialist, as he is better equipped to deal with the problem.

NOSE BLEEDS

Nosebleeds or epistaxis can occur due to a number of reasons: Sudden climatic changes; a rise in blood pressure; a traumatic injury; high fever.

The air we breathe in has to be homogenised to the body temperature of 34°C before it reaches the lungs. The nose acts as a temperature controller. If the air is cold, the nose warms it; if the air is too warm, the nose cools it. In order to help it carry out its function, the nose is heavily lined with blood vessels. The supply of blood depends upon the difference in the body and atmospheric temperatures. When the temperature outside changes suddenly, as when we move from a warm climate to a cold place, or vice versa, the demands on the blood vessels can be extensive and, consequently, they are likely to rupture, resulting in a nosebleed.

A rise in blood pressure forces the blood vessels to enlarge and sometimes even burst. Since the capillaries in the nose are fine, they rupture more easily. Thus a nosebleed could be a symptom of hypertension. Also, during plane flights, if cabin depressurisation takes place, the difference in air pressure outside the body and within affects the blood vessels and some passengers could experience bleeding from the nose.

Any trauma inflicted on the nose – say, when you fall while running and hit your nose on the ground, or when a child is hit on the nose by a ball while playing – ruptures the blood vessels inside the nose. Often, in these cases, the bleeding may seem heavy, but if there is no fracture, it may not be grave. However, once you’ve stopped the bleeding, you should get the patient checked by the doctor.

Sometimes the trauma can be light, as when a person digs in too hard to clean the nostrils. In that case, the bleeding stops spontaneously after a few minutes.

A high fever may sometimes be accompanied by a nosebleed. Again, this is because of the nose having to adapt to the difference in temperatures of the body and the air outside. ENT surgeon says, “This is occasionally seen in typhoid cases where the temperature rises very high.”

When bleeding from the nose occurs, you should first prop up the patient. Don’t let him lie flat. If you do that, the blood will rush back and enter the throat making him choke or cough, thus increasing the pressure on his blood vessels and forcing out more blood. “Sometimes the blood that is thus forced back goes into the stomach and the patient then vomits it out through the mouth,” says ENT surgeon. “At such times, everyone panics because the patient has vomited blood. They don’t realise he’s merely throwing out what he has swallowed.”

Ideally the patient should be made to sit up; head bent over a bowl so that the blood can drip down from the nose. Pinch closed the nostrils, letting the patient breathe through his mouth. Often, this stops the bleeding. Or you could put an ice pack on the nose. To make the pack, put some crushed ice in a clean kerchief or cloth and pack it closely over the nose. Use crushed ice, not chunks, because it can be moulded around the nose, and even pressure applied. If ice is not at hand, give the patient a freshly-cut onion, or crushed garlic pods, or ammonium bicarbonate, to smell. The strong odour will repulse his sense of smell, forcing the nostrils to contract, and this stops the bleeding.

NOT SERIOUS

Nosebleeds are generally not serious. “In a normal person, the bleeding stops on its own after about five minutes,” says ENT surgeon. “That it lasts for a long time and that the flow is heavy are only impressions. What happens is that, in the absence of muscles in the nose, the tightly-packed blood vessels cannot contract. So the bleeding continues till clotting sets in. and that normally occurs in about five minutes. But if the bleeding does continue longer, don’t panic. Pinch the nostrils or use an ice pack to stanch the flow, which will happen after a while provided there is no serious damage. However, even if the bleeding stops you should get the injury examined by an ENT specialist to preclude complications later.”

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