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On the other hand, Phenylpropanolamine is strictly regulated in the United States, was withdrawn in the Canadian Market, and banned in India.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)

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