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Over-the-counter drug alert: unpredictable side effects

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Over-the-counter drug alert: unpredictable side effects

The alert is raised for over-the-counter drugs: very dangerous side effects have been identified. Here’s what it is.

Whether it’s for a cold that won’t go away, a suspicious skin rash, or other medical reasons that can be resolved without a doctor’s visit, many of us turn to the pharmacist in search of over-the-counter medications. Also known as OTC (Over The Counter) drugs, these are drugs that do not require a prescription. All we have to do is go to the pharmacy and describe the problem; from there the pharmacist will find something suitable to try. Ideally, this allows you to resolve the problem and return to normalcy without having to go to a doctor.

Alert goes off for over-the-counter drugs: side effects found – Immezcla.it
In recent days, however, a real medical alarm was triggered regarding this type of medicine. A very widespread pharmaceutical compound, in fact, is causing unexpected side effects, posing a serious health risk. The Italian Medicines Association, or AIFA, has already started a review process on compromised medicines: here is what they are and what risks are currently being run.

Over-the-counter drug alert: unexpected side effects
The pharmaceutical compound that’s causing havoc is pseudoephedrine. Ten cases with side effects on blood vessels have already been recorded in France. Specifically, the risks reported by AIFA are posterior reversible encephalopathy and reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome. This makes it particularly serious for those suffering from kidney failure, given that the risks of contracting the diseases mentioned above increase. This is caused by the release of norepinephrine of the compound, which narrows blood vessels and decreases swelling in the nose.

Here are the over-the-counter drugs that triggered the alert and why – Immezcla.it
Based on this, pseudoephedrine is generally used in drugs that combat nasal or sinus congestion, for “trivial” causes such as colds. It is therefore found in many drugs with different trade names, such as Actifed, Aerinaze, Clarinase or Aspirin Complex. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, head pain, dizziness and more. Those who suffer from hypertension, diabetes, asthma and other similar diseases risk more serious problems, including stroke and heart attack. Particularly at risk are pregnant women.

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The procedure initiated by AIFA it will not replace drugs on the market, given that the number of people at risk is very low and pseudoephedrine cannot be replaced at the moment for certain pathologies. Consequently the aim of AIFA is initiate a review process for healthcare professionals including updated product information to minimize patient risks.

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