Thursday, November 15, 2012

Safety First

It has came to my attention that certain medications or medication ingredients, that are banned in other countries due to their adverse and harmful effects, are still being sold here in the Phililippines. Reading the column Toral: Drug safety opened up my mind to this alarming fact which could actually jeopardize the health and overall wellness of the Filipino people who consume such products.
Health is a very serious thing to consider and the health department of the government could actually look into certain issues like drug safety more closely. How come that there are medication ingredients that are prohibited overseas, continually circulate in the Philippine market today?  

For instance, Saridon  has been cited as unsafe for its new formulation has propyphenazone that can have negative side-effects to those who take it. Propyphenazone ingredient is already restricted from countries like Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. The World Health Organization on its statement about propyphenazone : "Propyphenazone, a pyrazolone derivative with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activity, was introduced in 1951 for the treatment of rheumatic disorders. As it is structurally related to aminophenazone it has been associated with severe blood dyscrasias. However, it cannot be transformed into potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines and has therefore been widely used as a replacement drug for aminophenazone. In certain countries, products containing propyphenazone have now been restricted in their indications, whereas in others they are still available, sometimes as over-the-counter preparations.” This is really something that we need to take consideration on.

Furthermore, another medication which is still readily available in the market today called Sinutab Extra Strength  contains an ingredient which is said to be hazardous. The said medication contains phenylpropanolamine which exposes whoever consumes it to hemorrhagic risk, especially women. The said chemical is not recommended in the US.

With these two medications that are imposing a threat to the wellness of the Filipinos, it is high time for the health department to reexamine closely the approved medications that are circulating in the market today. Maybe a review on the ingredients utilized in medicines, and taking a second look into their possible effects, is essential in order to further elevate the quality of products being sold in the country. The medications we have in our pharmacies should be safe enough for every Filipino people to consume. More to that, the companies who released these medications in the market should be responsible enough to properly issue the concrete facts and information regarding their products for the government to properly identify what is hazardous and not.

You could check out some of the banned medicines on Banned medicine blog and help spread the news and uphold the awareness of the safeness of the medicines out in the market today. 

Original post: Safety First

Is your Medicine Safe?

As someone who has high tolerance in pain. I am not a fan of pain relievers. In fact, when I had my child labor, I specifically asked our doctor not to induce any anesthesia (four times for four kids!). I said I can handle the pain. I use self-hypnosis. I simply get my self ready mentally, emotionally and psychologically. That also meant a lot of savings from our hospital bill.

However, if my kids are in pain, that becomes a different story. As a mother, I try my best to 'rescue' and relieve them of any discomfort.

Sometimes, I try my best to seemingly 'ignore' my kids' complaints when it comes to ordinary pains hoping they will develop a high tolerance in pain; which I presume, is a simple practice of developing tolerance to disappointments and discomforts that life may bring in the future. I believe that whatever experiences a person may have in his childhood has an impact on how he would deal in his adulthood. 

However, as a normal mother, I often end up using pain relievers as I cannot stand seeing any of my kids suffer for long. I was specifically bugged when I stumbled upon an article regarding drug safety written by a fellow blogger.

I found out that a safety issue about a certain pain reliever brand was left unanswered by Bayer the manufacturer of Saridon, and the Department of Health.

It was mentioned that propyphenazone, an active ingredient in Saridon made by Bayer, is actually banned in other countries like Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia and Turkey. It is very alarming that the general public wasn't aware of the possible side effects and health hazards that propyphenazone may pose.

For instance, the website Filipino Doctor ( listed some information about the medicine and indicated pregnancy risk and intake prescription depending on age. The Saridon Wikipedia page cited an age ban for Korea, with those 15 years old and below not allowed to take the medication. What is more alarming is the growing popularity of the said medicine as they claimed to be in this video. 
Now, its making sense why an ad by Biogesic kept saying "Lahat ng gamot effective, pero lahat ba safe?" (All medicines are effective, but are all medicines safe?
To Bayer and Department of Health, this issue should not be left unanswered. Please do not let the consumers grope in the dark.

Original article: Is your Medicine Safe?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drug Safety Is Everyone's Concern

On one of my blog-hopping days, I came upon one article on the net about drug safety. I have previously written about medicines and how they were advertised through the tri-media and wondered whether this factor can affect the audiences reception about the product itself. Whether the audience/people are swayed into using the products because it was portrayed in such a way that it becomes the more obvious choice. 
As a consumer of different products/medicines that are in the market today, I believe that it is my concern to know whether a product is safe. It is not only enough to rely on ads/commercials because it is our health and safety we are talking about here. 
One of which caught my attention was the product named Saridon by Bayer. In an article by Miss Toral at the Sunstar Website (you may read it here), she pointed out that this product contains Propyphenazone which might have side effects to those who take it. Now, we all know, through Saridon's commercial or in some other way that this product targets pain and deals with headaches that are caused by extreme heat, abrupt weather changes, stress, loud noise, and other environmental factors. And with its very affordable prize, here in the Philippines, it has been known to become popular against headaches; accordingly more and more Filipinos particularly in Visayas and Mindanao are frequent users of this product. 
All in all, I though, it must be a good product since it has gained a following here in the Philippines and is affordable compared to other brands. But as I read the article further, I learned that the product is banned in a  number of countries such as Turkey, Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. Now this sparked curiosity. Why would these countries ban the product if it is doing good as it claims? In Korea those who are below the age of 15 are banned to take it. The product also restricts its usage for those who are pregnant and are suffering under certain conditions listed here. But you will only know this if you really read the labels because these aren't included in the commercial/ads at all. I think this should be clearly communicated not only in the ads, but also in their webpages or FB pages since they have one that include phenacetin which can prove to be carcinogenic (can cause cancer). Article can be found here.
I think it would be better if the DOH and Bayer can provide more information about the active ingredients in this product. In this way, consumers will know and can judge for themselves if this product is indeed worth taking. 

To Pop This Pill or Not?

Headaches are THE WORST! Whenever I feel something bad, I always have this need to take a pill just to stop it and go on with my life. One of my officemates would even take a leave when her migraine occurs. So as I "googled" the best pill to take, I happened to see the Saridon commercial above. I thought it was real funny, yet very violent, especially for children. But if that ad could amuse, and invite me to try their product, then I could be one of its "markets". 
Apparently, Ms. Janette Toral's article on Drug Safety had me on a complete halt from popping this pill. Based from, the ingredients of Saridon consists of 250mg Paracetamol, 150mg Propyphenazone and 50mg  Caffeine. And while I adore caffeine and its products such as coffee, I can't help but get worried about the Propyphenazone content in the drug. 
Even in its Wiki definition, Propyphenazone and even Saridon is already banned in other countries. What I could not understand is how they can get away with selling the product, without prescription necessary, amidst the fact that its causing health related problems already.
My Mom, who is a nurse, refers to MIMS if she needs a certain drug. According to its page, Propyphenazone's drug reaction includes hypersensitivity reactions; nephrotoxicity, nausea, drowsiness, coma and convulsions on large doses. Would you want to have your headache gone, only to be replaced with these side effects? I know I don't!
I hope the the Department of Health and its manufacturer, Bayer would regulate drugs like Saridon. Or even answer as to why its cheaper and easily bought in spite of its side effects. After all, we would want to lessen the pain, instead of triggering another one that would blow up to our face so easily.

Original article: To Pop This Pill or Not?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Safety Issues: What's in my medicine? (Propyphenazone and Phenylpropanolamine)

Today, I bought Saridon from Mercury Drug at P 4.50 per tablet. I asked if there are any other medicines with Propyphenazone but the pharmacists could not give me any. Saridon is a drug available in the Philippines over-the-counter. When you say over-the-counter, it means that pharmacies can dispense the drug without the need of doctor's prescription.

An article in Sunstar Cebu has questioned the safety of Saridon, and more specifically, the safety of one of its main ingredients, Propyphenazone. The issue presented on the mentioned article boils down on how Prophyphenazone is banned in some countries while it is allowed in the Philippines with seemingly low to no dispensing restrictions, and on how medicines should be restricted on specific cases.

Saridon is not the only drug in the Philippines with Propyphenazone. Propyphenazone is mainly used to relieve pain and fever and is made a component of drugs due to its fast onset of action. With Propyphenazone, a drug takes effect in as little as 15 minutes. According to The Filipino Doctor, Propyphenazone acts quickly but also loses its effect quickly, so it complements Paracetamol, which takes effect slowly but has a longer lasting effect.

Propyphenazone, along with most if not all drugs, has contraindications, side effects and adverse drug reactions. They drug's dosage, which was listed by Mims Drug Information System at .5 to upto 1g up to 4 times daily for adults could readily tell us that the the amount of Propyhenazone in Saridon (which is only 150 mg per tablet) is way lower than the recommended dosage. Personally, I believe that the content of Propyhenazone in Saridon does not pose serious risk unless of course if the drug is taken in large doses for long periods of time, or if the drug is taken by people who are not supposed to take it like pregnant women and children.

The banning of Propyphenazone in some countries creates a lot of stir and would make us question why these medicines are not restricted for Filipino consumption.

On the other hand, Phenylpropanolamine is strictly regulated in the United States, was withdrawn in the Canadian Market, and banned in India. In 2010, the USA Food and Drugs Administration took steps to remove Phenylpropanolamine-containing medicines in the market, which then moved drug companies in reformulating these medicines. Phenylpropanolamine is an ingredient of Sinutab Extra Strength, which is also available in our country as an over-the-counter medicine.

With all these information placing us in a limbo, I can't help but question if there is a specific person or office which should clear these issues, and some more issues on medicines which have not even been brought up online. In my conversation with a certain doctor, I was told that the regulation of drugs is generally the function of ourFood and Drugs Administration (formerly Bureau of Food and Drugs or BFAD). Being the the guiding authority in this matter, it is only proper that our government agency should take the necessary measure in regulating drugs and ensuring that proper information about drug and medicine use would reach our kababayans. Our FDA is even mandated to monitor product advertisements and promotions to ensure that they comply with the existing laws.

We Filipinos are so fond of self-medicating. We don't go to doctors specially in the simple case of cough and colds and we would directly go to the nearest botika to buy what's available to relieve us of our ailments. In light of all the issues surrounding the laxity in dispensing our drugs, we must always take caution in buying and taking medicines.

Original article here: Safety Issues: What's in my medicine? (Propyphenazone and Phenylpropanolamine)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Do you know Saridon? Is it Effective or not?

We must search for the best medicines to provide pain relief of  body aches and headaches. I didn’t do this for the past years because I just took famous name of paracetamol medicines. But after I survived an operation (with Brain Anuerysm)  last year, I always do research for the best medicines to take on the times of headaches and body aches. 

Saridon is an analgesic specially made for treating headaches. It is the headache specialist because it is specifically formulated to target persistent headaches. It provides fast and effective relief from mild to severe headaches. Saridon’s unique formula enables it to provide significant pain relief in as fast as 15 minutes. Studies have shown that Saridon is more effective than individual doses of ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin.

Each Saridon tablet contains: 

Paracetamol   (250 mg) - Paracetamol helps reduce fever and pain while providing long lasting relief. 

Propyphenazone (150 mg) - Propyphenazone is an anti-inflammatory used to treat mild to moderate pain, like headaches, quickly. 

Caffeine (50 mg) - Caffeine, when combined with other analgesics, improves their effects.

Paracetamol, Propyphenazone and Caffeine work together. Propyphenazone and Paracetamol are ingredients that provide pain relief. They complement each other well because Propyphenazone works quickly but loses its effect fast, while Paracetamol takes effect slowly but a has a longer lasting effect. The 3rd ingredient, Caffeine improves the effects of the other two ingredients. With it, the analgesics work better by 41%. 

It is said that Saridon works faster and provides better pain relief than Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

I read an article about Saridon written by Janette Toral in the Sunstar Cebu titled Toral : Drug Safety. The article is specifically about a medicine for headaches. As I continue my research on Saridon, here something caught my interest. True that this is an important matter for us all. Saridon alledgedly being unsafe, due to one of its ingredient, propyphenazone that may have side effects. Medicines should restricted on specific cases.

There are countries like , Malaysia, Korea, Sri Lanka and Turkey, Saridon medicine which has Propyphenazone content is now banned.  But here in the Philippines, it's still available.

I have read articles with complains andn worries about this medicine - Saridon. 

I searched for more thru Youtube. I will continue to find answers to our worries for our health.

I hope that Department of Health and Bayer provide us more information about the propyphenazone ban in other countries and why it's available in the Philippines. This is a public health matter. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saridon: An Appeal for Illumination

I suffer from terrible migraine attacks. In fact, just last weekend, I had what I think is my worst migraine attack ever. Why is that? Well, the throbbing pain on my head started Saturday morning and lasted until last night! Yes, three days of excruciating pain. You're probably wondering why I "allowed" the condition to last that long. The fact is I immediately took three Ibuprofen caplets to manage the pain. A mere 250mg caplet no longer works for me. The dosage needs to be at least 750mg to 1000mg. The pain subsided... for a short while (or at least, while I was sleeping).

The following morning, I woke up to a throbbing pain at the base of my neck the crept upward to my skull. I felt as if the throbbing was crushing my brain. I wanted to look for an alternative to the Ibuprofen caplets I had. I was contemplating on taking Saridon, hoping it can help relieve me of the pain. I remember Saridon from an informative article about the dynamics of medicine promotion and advertisements I read online. Normally, I take Excedrin Migraine® for the worst cases of migraine. I take two 500mg caplets, and in as short as 30 minutes, the pain is gone. However, I opted to look for an alternative because I noticed that lately, a bad case of heartburn immediately follows after the medicines have taken effect.

Anyway, I tried to look for more information about Saridon. This is actually something I always do - read information about a medicine I would be taking - because it's better to be safe than sorry. I wanted to find out if it could relieve migraine headaches. Instead, I stumbled upon a well-written article or argument, if you may, about the safety of Saridon. Apparently, it contains 135 mg of propyphenazone, 260 mg of paracetamol and 55 mg of caffeine, and while I know that paracetamol is a pain reliever and caffeine serves as a pain reliever aid (Excedrin Migraine® actually contains 65mg of caffeine), I had no idea what propyphenazone is. The latter is a derivative of phenazone, which means several chemical components of phenazone can be found in propyphenazone.

Bayer Philippines, Inc. is the company behind Saridon's release in the Philippines. They say that this very efficient analgesic has been around for quite some time already and has become popular for being one of the fastest painkillers in the market. The medicine has a strong following in the Vis-Min regions, but it hasn't gone all out on a nationwide scale. Why is that? According to reports, the purported banning of the medicine has a lot to do with it. Currently, Saridon is banned in Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Malaysia, and Thailand. They point to the adverse effects of Saridon especially to pregnant women. It's also considered the culprit behind severe cases of drug-induced blood dyscrasias, hypersensitivity reactions, nephrotoxicity, nausea, drowsiness, coma, and convulsions when taken in large doses.

After reading the articles of Ms. Janette Toral about Saridon, its efficacy, its banning, and its supposed side effects, I did a double take. Rather than buy Saridon, I relied on my trusted migraine medicine. Fortunately, my migraine has ceased. I am now relieved. However, I am still wondering about the true status of Saridon. With propyphenazone as its main ingredient, is it safe as its manufacturer claims it to be? Should I be wary of it? I am calling out to the Department of Health and Bayer Philippines, Inc. to shed light on this issue. I think every Filipino deserves to know.

Source: Saridon: An Appeal for Illumination