Watchdog warning on over-the-counter medicines

generic image of unidentifiable medication

Consumer group 60 millions de consommateurs says nearly half of well-known products tested should be avoided

Do you stock up on over-the-counter medicines to deal with the colds, sore throats and upset stomachs that are common place in the colder months? You may want to think again, following a study by consumer watchdog 60 millions de consommateurs.

Cold remedies, throat lozenges, antacids - almost half of 62 medicines subjected to independent testing should be avoided, according to a report published on Tuesday.

The study was conducted under the supervision of clinical pharmacologist Professor Jean-Paul Giroud, the author of several books on drugs and self-medication, and pharmacist Hélène Berthelot.

They concluded that 45% of the 62 popular over-the-counter medicines should be avoided, as the health risks they pose outweigh their benefits. The reports author's singled out Nurofen Cold, described the presence of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine, regularly used as a decongestant, "is nonsense to treat a runny nose". They noted that the possible cardiovascular and neurological side-effects meant that the health risks outweigh the benefits of taking the popular drug.

The study also placed other recognisable cold remedies such as Actifed Cold and Dolirhume on the 'avoid' list.

Another third were considered 'fair', while only 21% (13) were found to have a favourable risk/benefit ratio. These included Vicks Vaporub, Imodiumcaps, Gaviscon menthe, Forlax 10 G, Maalox sans sucre.

Here is 60 millions de consommateurs' list of over-the-counter medicines to avoid:

Colds: Actifed Rhume, Actifed Rhume Jour & Nuit, Dolirhume Paracétamol and Pseudoéphédrine, Nurofen Rhume, Rhinadvil Rhume ibuprofène/pseudoéphédrine, HumexLib paracétamol chlorphénamine.

Coughs: Bronchokod sans sucre toux grasse adultes, Exomuc toux grasse orange, Fluimucil expectorant sans sucre orange, Humex toux sèche oxomémazine sans sucre, Mucomyst toux grasse orange, Toplexil sans sucre.

Sorethroats: Angi-spray mal de gorge, Colludol, Drill, Drill miel rosat, Hexaspray, Humex mal de gorge lidocaïne-benzalkonium, Strefen sans sucre, Strepsils lidocaïne, Strepsils miel citron.

Flu: Actifed états grippaux, Doli état grippal, Fervex état grippal.

Diarrhoea: Ercéfuryl.

Constipation: Dulcolax, Pursennide

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