Over-the-counter drugs: Popular drugs are often not recommended

35 well-known drugs that you shouldn't buy

Headache, cold, heartburn: Many people quickly take medication, especially in supposedly harmless diseases. However, self-medication poses risks, health experts warn. Another problem is that many common drugs are not very suitable and can sometimes increase the risk of side effects.

Self-treatment of diseases can be dangerous

Many people assume that over-the-counter pain relievers are harmless because they are over the counter. However, some of these medicines can have extremely dangerous side effects, including increasing the risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest. Other over-the-counter medicines can also be harmful to health. And some remedies can increase the risk of side effects because ingredients are not combined appropriately, reports the Stiftung Warentest.

Many over-the-counter medications are not very suitable

Cold, sore throat, constipation or heartburn - there are over-the-counter medications for everything. Customers like to use familiar products.

But many medicines, according to the Stiftung Warentest after evaluating studies, are not very suitable, for example because ingredients are not combined in a sensible way.

Therefore, they can even increase the risk of side effects.

The experts had selected a total of 35 popular drugs for their investigation.

Treat symptoms better

Various medicines such as Aspirin Complex, Grippostad C or Wick MediNait, for example, promise an all-round treatment for cold symptoms.

"But such a watering can principle doesn't make sense," says Dr. Bettina Sauer of the Stiftung Warentest in a message.

"Instead, you should treat the symptoms that really bother you, for example taking a short-term cough suppressant or a nasal spray."

The scratchy throat does not need any medical lozenges, because moisturizing (sugar-free) candies relieve the symptoms in the best possible way.

Other home remedies for sore throats such as sage tea can also help.

Ingredients of combination products often do not make sense to complement each other

As the Stiftung Warentest writes, a team of experts regularly checks all medications that market analysis says are sold particularly frequently, including around 1,500 over-the-counter medications. Around 500 of them do poorly.

A lot of combination preparations with several active ingredients are among the unsuitable medications.

Well-known examples are colds like Aspirin Complex, Grippostad C, Wick MediNait or painkillers like Doppel Spalt compact, Neuralgin, Thomapyrin. The ingredients of such preparations usually do not complement each other in a meaningful way.

For example, the experts write about “Thomapyrin”: “The combination of ASA and paracetamol does not offer any additional therapeutic benefit, but it does harbor the risk of the different undesirable effects of the two painkillers. Caffeine can promote abuse. "

And for "WICK MediNait cold syrup for the night" it says: "Not a sensible combination of a pain, a cough and a calming and a stimulating agent, which are distributed throughout the body through the blood and should also swell the nasal mucosa. Contains alcohol. "

In addition, the combination of different active ingredients in the same drug is associated with an increased risk of side effects.

Effectiveness is often insufficiently proven

For other medications that the Stiftung Warentest rates as unsuitable, the therapeutic efficacy has not been sufficiently demonstrated or is low in comparison to the side effects.

For example, preparations for constipation with aloe or castor oil have a drastic laxative effect and strongly irritate the intestine.

Better laxatives are better, such as psyllium, senna, sodium picosulfate, lactulose or macrogol.

These and other medications are on the medication list that the Stiftung Warentest has currently compiled. There are 35 known and unsuitable over-the-counter preparations.

Instead, consumers should choose suitable alternatives, which can also be found in the table.

The Stiftung Warentest medication assessments are based on the specialist literature as well as the international and national clinical studies in four stages from “suitable” to “not very suitable”. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Prescription vs. Over-the-Counter OTC Drugs: Did You Know? By Envolve (October 2021).