Non-prescription drugs: the dangers of self-medication pointed out by 60 million consumers

Non prescription drugs the dangers of self medication pointed out by 60

  • News
  • Updated on 10/19/2020

    2 min read

    Some drugs sold without a doctor’s prescription can cause “serious side effects,” warns 60 million consumers in the latest magazine.

    8 out of 10 French people do not go through their doctor to treat everyday ailments, especially during the winter when viruses and bacteria circulate strongly. But even if these treatments are sold without a doctor’s prescription, they are not without dangers, warns the magazine 60 million consumers, in its special edition published on October 15, 2020.

    132 products were studied, including 60 drugs and 72 food supplements used to fight a cold, a decline in immune defenses, a sore throat, abdominal pain, fever, anxiety disorders or sleep. A “rating” system was set up with the editors of the journal Prescribe for drug analysis. The drug inserts were examined as well as the pharmacovigilance data from the Medicines Agency.

    Our methodology pointed to the presence of dangerous substances, the risks of side effects, interactions, excessive dosages, false claims, the absence of any mention or logo indicating risks, the lack of clarity of the instructions”, Can we read on the website of 60 million consumers.

    Only 10% of the drugs analyzed are recommended by the magazine of the National Institute of Consumption. Some colds contain pseudoephedrine which can cause cardiovascular problems, possibly causing a risk of heart attack. Products that improve digestion are also “on the test bench”, including some anti-diarrheal drugs that cause stool retention and increases the risk of bacteria growth, and exposes people to infection. Other drugs against sleep disorders, sore throats, anti-tusives, or painkillers including those based on paracetamol are also blamed by the magazine.

    Bad students also among food supplements

    Food supplements have also been reviewed by the magazine, with the help of nutritionist Dr. Jacques Fricker. “55% of food supplements should be avoided, and only 20% are recommended“, according to them. Melatonin, some herbs like St. John’s Wort, Rhubarb, Aloe and many others can cause serious side effects. The same for certain vitamins such as vitamin D in children: “additional intakes may prove to be excessive and lead to digestive disorders”.

    Monday, October 19, Synadiet, the National Union of Food Supplements, which represents players in the sector of food supplements and natural health products, reacted. In a press release, the organization does not hesitate to declare that the magazine “seeks to instill fear in the care and prevention solutions made available to the population“. He denounces “repeated inconsistencies and an approximate methodology“in the investigation of 60 million consumers.

    On numerous occasions, the review denies the effects of certain ingredients for which the EFSA, European Food Safety Authority, has nevertheless carried out an evaluation and authorized a claim. (…) The authors thus question the efficacy and safety of several products which benefit from data attesting to them. In addition, the article repeatedly makes regulatory errors: for example, it states that melatonin 1.9 mg should be prescribed by a doctor, when it comes to a physiological dose. authorized as a food supplement.