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With the drug club against the cold – news knowledge: Medicine & Psychology


The nose is running, the head is hard, the work calls – in this situation, many people resort to a cold preparation. However, in a new expert report of Foundation Warentest, the combined preparations are not good. The German testers examined 2,000 freely available medicines. 500 of these drugs ended up in the "unsuitable" category, including popular cold or combo medications (see tables at the end of the text).

A team of pharmacists and doctors led by pharmaceutical professor Gered Glass, reviewed these drugs. The experts are stricter than the regulatory authorities. They looked at all the high-quality studies that have been published so far, and not just the efficacy studies that a manufacturer must prepare before approval. They also take a closer look at side effects.

Some of the medications like Vix Medinait or Aspirin Complex are also available in Switzerland. Some are simply different. As the German pharmacy sells as a double cleft, the Swiss trade called contra pain. Lemosin's throat lozenges are known here as Mebu Lemon.

In Switzerland you also get preparations that are only slightly different from the German, perhaps with more ingredient content than the German counterpart. The German Doregrippin, which appears on the list of Foundation Warentest, has two active ingredients in combination, which are also in the Neositran Swiss. However, Neocitran still has two other ingredients.

Common side effects

For the combined preparations, the experts list some problems. Manufacturers mix different substances in them. In cold remedies, these are often analgesic, such as acetaminophen or acetylsalicylic acid, a preparation for decongestion of the mucous membranes, a cough suppressant, a mucous remover, and sometimes a drug for allergies.

"The risk of unwanted or toxic effects increases disproportionately with the number of active ingredients used at the same time," says Stefanie Krämer, professor at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. ETH Zurich, The active ingredients not only influence each other, the topic of side effects becomes more acute.

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

"Side Effects Potential When You Take Combined Preparations," also says medical researcher Thomas Rosemann, who is the family medicine institute. University of Zurich Passes. So, taking three or four drugs at the same time, not just three or four times as many side effects, but possibly many times. In addition, it may lead to unwanted reactions in the degradation of these drugs in the body. We discern the chemical substances of the drug with urine, or our liver breaks down. Especially in the liver it may cause problematic interactions in the worst case.

Another problem is the different half-life of the active ingredients. "Although one could not work against the stuffy nose, the other had high fever in the body for coughing," says Krämer. Patients took the second dose and then reached toxic levels in the slower metabolic state. So if you really need more than one active ingredient, you should take these drugs much more accurately.

"Caffeine is not a drug"

Even combined painkillers get badly off in the evaluation. Mixing acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid would not be better for pain, but would only cause the same problems as the other combinations. In addition, the testers classified caffeine mixtures as unsuitable. Caffeine is not a drug, "says the pharmacist. The danger that you often take is painkillers, if you are awake, climbing. Anyone who suffers from migraine and has a soothing effect on caffeine should drink a strong one. Espresso and take the painkiller individually.

The pharmacy association Pharmasuisse commented on the evaluation of the Warentest Foundation on request as follows: "Not all preparations are useful for every person or application known." Because of this, individual advice at the pharmacy is important.

«Just stay in bed»

During a cold, you rarely suffer all the symptoms at the same time. Often the nose runs first, the cough comes later. Or the neck is scratching while the nasal mucous membranes still cause minor problems. Anyway, the experts recommend treating a stuffy nose with a systemic drug, a substance that works throughout the body. Pseudoephedrine or phenylefrine are the active ingredients that are swallowed to the nostrils. They have a vazoconstrictive effect and are actually stimulants, which also appear on dipping lists.

"With flu-like infections, a painkiller such as paracetamol, which also reduces heat, and a nasal spray is usually sufficient," says family doctor Professor Roseman. There may be no medical evidence for cough and mucus comers, which are often added to combination preparations. A nasal drug with saline water works better. And best of all, just stay in bed. "

Created: 23.07.2019, 20:30 clock

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