The main products stocked and sold by pharmahouses are various kinds of drugs and pharmaceutical products. These products are split up into groups that require a doctor’s prescription and other groups of over-the-counter medicines that can be obtained without a prescriptions by whoever wants them. Pharmacists employed at a pharmahouse can be consulted about possible health concerns of nonprescription medications and the possible interaction with other drugs that are being taken, whether with prescription or not. In addition to chemicals that are designed to prevent or cure a disorder, pharmahouses also offer aid tools (bandages, insect protection, medical tests), medical devices (cholesterol meters, thermometers), and different vitamins and minerals, as well as care and beauty products and toiletries (toothpaste, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners etc.).
There is an immense number and types of pharmaceutical medications. They might be taken orally as tablets, capsules, powders, and sprays, injected, or directly applied to the affected area. Here is some more information about the variety and use of some of them and the conditions they might be needed for:
An allergy reaction is a result of the response of the immune system to a foreign substance that is usually not considered harmful. These foreign substances, recognized by the immune system as invaders, are called allergens. They can be certain foods, pollen, animal dander, insect stings, mold, medications, latex, etc. The immune system overreacts to the allergens by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. There is no cure for allergies, but not taking them seriously might lead to complications. The severity of allergies varies from person to person, and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis – a life-threatening emergency. There are many safe prescription and over-the-counter medications available to relieve annoying symptoms such as congestion or itchy nose. These allergy medications include antihistamines, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, corticosteroid creams/ointments, mast cell stabilizers, immunotherapy or epinephrine.Antihistamines
Antihistamines can be taken as pills, liquid, nasal spray, or eye drops. They block histamine which causes allergic swelling and have a calming effect on sneezing, runny nose, and hives. Over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops treat red itchy eyes, while nasal sprays are recommended for seasonal and indoor allergies.Decongestants
Decongestants can be found in the form of pills, liquids, nasal spray, or eye drops. They relieve congestion and are often prescribed along with antihistamines. They reduce stiffness by shrinking swollen membranes in the nose. However, using nasal spray and eye drops for a longer period than a few days at a time might worsen the symptoms. Pills and liquid decongestants might be taken longer safely.Nasal corticosteroids
Nasal corticosteroids are nose sprays. They are considered to be the most effective medicines for nasal allergies. They belong to the group of medicines known as steroids. They are sprayed or inhaled into the nose to reduce swelling which causes a study and itchy nose or hay fever. Moreover, they prevent nasal polyps from rowing back after they have been surgically removed.Corticosteroid creams/ointments
Corticosteroid creams/ointments are an effective medicine against allergic reactions, eczema and dermatitis. The medicine is applied directly to the skin and treats rashes and inflammation. It should be applied very thinly to minimize the amount absorbed through the skin into the body. If the rash does not go away after using this cream for a week, it is necessary to get a medical appointment to have that issue looked at by a doctor.Mast cell stabilizers
Mast cell stabilizers are distributed in the form of eye drops or nose sprays. They keep the body from releasing histamine and thus calm itchy, watery eyes or an itchy and runny nose, and some of these drugs have also an anti-inflammatory effect. Mast cell stabilizers must be taken two to four times a day and normally take more time to become effective, from two to six weeks.Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy can be taken as allergy shots or pills under the tongue, gradually increasing the ability to tolerate allergens. The difference between immunotherapy and other allergy medications is that the function of the former is to control allergy symptoms and once the treatment is over, the symptoms return shortly afterwards. Immunotherapy can potentially lead to lasting remission of allergy symptoms, and it might help a lot to prevent development of asthma and new allergies.Epinephrine
Epinephrine is obtained in a pre-measured and self-injectable device. It normally treats very severe life-threatening allergic reactions. Epinephrine must be injected into the body within minutes of the first sign of serious allergic reactions. It works by relaxing the muscles in the airways and tightening the blood vessels. It is used for allergic reactions to food, stinging insects, latex, medicines or other causes.
Sedatives are medications that ease agitation and induce sleep. Some of them look like multi-colored tablets and capsules, while others can be found in liquid form. They reduce irritability or excitement by modulating signals within the central nervous system. Sedatives are mostly prescribed to patients with anxiety, stress reactions, and panic attacks. If sedatives are accidentally misused or combined with other substances, there is a risk of depressing important signals that are necessary to maintain heart and lung function. For example, carelessly combining sedatives with alcohol could have fatal consequences. They can also lead to dependence or addiction. That’s why sedatives should be used under supervision and only when there is a real necessity. The most popular types are barbiturates and benzodiazepines.Barbiturates
Barbiturates are prescription sedatives or “sleeping pills”. They reduce the activity of nerves causing muscle relaxation. They could also reduce heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. All barbiturates influence gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter used by nerves to communicate with other nearby nerves. Barbiturates can be taken on their own or along with anesthesia. They are normally prescribed for acute anxiety, tension and sleep disorders, and are sometimes used to treat seize disorder. They should be used with caution with some other drugs, as they may speed up the breakdown of these drugs and lead to decreased effectiveness.Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are prescribed to people suffering from anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks. They appear to work by influencing neurotransmitters in the brain. Different kinds of benzodiazepines differ in how quickly they start working, how long they continue to work, and for what type of conditions they are most commonly prescribed. They belong to the categories short-acting and long-acting. Short-acting tablets have been marketed as sleeping tablets, while the long-lasting ones are normally needed to control anxiety. Some of them might be used to treat seizures, muscle spasms, and to calm patients before medical procedures. Older people are more likely to be affected by side effects such as unsteadiness and problems with memory and concentration.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for a cold, but there are some things that could be done to relieve it. Apart from drinking many fluids and getting plenty of rest, there are different medicines that can help sick people deal with symptoms such as sore throat, coughing, sneezing, stuffiness, and fever. A cold or a seasonal flu can have a range of symptoms, so it is important to be familiar with the most common ingredients in cough, cold, and flu remedies in order to choose the most appropriate medication that would treat only the existing symptoms. Treatments are available in a range of forms, including syrups, powder, pills, capsules, and sprays. Many of them contain the same ingredients, but some of them are more preferred than others. Below, you will be provided with some useful information about decongestants, antihistamines, expectorants, pain relievers (fever reducers), and lozenges.Decongestants
Decongestants do not just relieve allergy symptoms but also unclog a stuffy nose caused by a cold, a virus, or flu. The reason for a stuffy nose is the released mucus from the nasal passages which builds up and is the reason for a nasal voice. Many decongestants are available over-the-counter from pharmahouses without a prescription. Most people can use decongestants, but they are not suitable for everyone. It is necessary for babies, children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with certain diseases to be given advice from a doctor or a pharmacist.Antihistamines
Antihistamines can be combined with decongestants to improve common cold symptoms. They are separated into two groups: sedating and non-sedating. When planning to work, drive, or get engaged with similar activities, it is very important to select a non-sedating antihistamine. It is advisable to take sedating antihistamines before going to bed to avoid daytime grogginess. Mixing sedative antihistamines and alcohol is undesirable. As compared to the old products, new antihistamines have fewer side effects and are less likely to cause drowsiness.
Cough suppressants help control a persistent dry and tickly cough by blocking the cough reflex. Many commonly used cough suppressants contain dextromethorphan. This type of medicine is not recommended for a cough with mucus. Other ingredients include codeine, pholcodeine, noscapime and butamirate. Codeine is only available with prescription, but there are some codeine-containing cough syrups that can be purchased without a prescription with special restrictions. Cough suppressants bring relief for a severe cough that is keeping someone awake at night or interfering with activities.Expectorants
Expectorants are the best medicines for cough with mucus. They break up the fluids that cause congestion and make it easier for the mucus to be coughed up. An expectorant is one of the main ingredients in many cough medicines. It works by loosening and clearing thick mucus from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea. Two examples of expectorants are guaifenesin and acetylcysteine. Guaifenesin derives from the guaiac tree and has been used for centuries to cure respiratory complaints. Acetylchsteine is taken to break up sticky mucus that can form as a result of diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, or asthma.Pain relievers
Pain relievers, also known as fever reducers, do not make the illness go away, but they can relieve some symptoms and make the discomfort endurable during the recovering period. These products, if used occasionally and instructions are followed, are safe and efficient. However, when used by people with certain health conditions or taken along with other medications, there can be serious consequences. It is important to follow label and talk to a pharmacist if necessary. There are two types of over-the-counter pain relievers – acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen relieves headaches, muscle aches and fever. It can also be found in many medicines including cough syrup and cold and sinus medicines. When used correctly, side effects are rare. Besides, as compared to other pain relievers, acetaminophen does not cause stomach upset or heart problems.Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain and fever by suppressing the substances that cause the feeling. They help control body temperature. They are intended for short-term use, so when someone uses nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for longer periods, their doctor should closely follow how they are doing it to make sure there will not be any serious side effects, and to change the treatment if needed.Lozenges
Lozenges is the best way to ease a sore throat when the pain gets unbearable. Most of the medicines can be purchased over-the-counter and relieve the throat by slowly dissolving in the mouth. The suck action stimulates the salivary gland to produces saliva which in combination with the ingredients reduces pain, dryness, and itchiness. Different brands of lozenges have various combinations. For example, some of the most common are antibacterials, anaesthetics, menthol and eucalyptus, and pain medication.
Everyone can experience hair loss at some point in one’s life. Most hair disorders are not considered serious, but they can have negative influence on people’s overall appearance and consequently lower their self-esteem. Hair problems provoke more distress than any other severe skin conditions and this is why they should not be underestimated. The most common hair diseases are androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, alopecia universalis, telogen effluvium, and tinea capitis. These hair conditions lead to partial or complete hair loss. Unfortunately, not all hair disorders have medical treatments, but there are effective alternatives available for some types of hair loss which help reverse or at least slow down the process. The most popular forms of treatment recommended are Finasteride and Minoxidil.Finasteride
Finasteride exists in pill form and should be taken once a day to reverse the effects of male pattern baldness caused by the disorder androgenic alopecia. This condition comes as a result of the hormone DHT (dihydrotesteosterone) which leads to shrinking of hair follicles and thus stops the growth phase of the hair cycle. Finasteride works by blocking the activity of the enzyme (5-alpha reducatase) that converts testosterone to DHT. It should not be used by women with hair problems. When Finasteride is taken as directed, there are no severe side effects which would be a reason for a discontinuity of the treatment.Minoxidil
Minoxidil is another solution for hair loss and baldness that is rubbed directly onto the scalp. It has previously been used as an oral drug to treat high blood pressure. It is still a mystery how mindoxidil stimulates hair growth. Experts suggest that it dilates the blood vessels around the hair follicles, increasing the nutrient supply and making hairs grow for a longer period. Mindoxil is most effective when used in the earlier stages of the hair disorder. However, once it is stopped after prolonged use, it is likely the condition of hair loss to worsen. The best results can be seen at the top and back of the head, but the medicine might not be that effective at the front area of the scalp. It can be used by both men and women. Side effects and any other complications are very rare. Patients who suffer from hypertension should seek advice from their doctor before the beginning of the treatment.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and its functions include protection, excretion, and heat regulation. Skin diseases vary in symptoms and severity. They can be temporary or permanent and might cause pain or be painless. Some of them may be genetic, while others may be a result of environmental or other factors. Some of the most common skin conditions are eczema, dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, and rosacea. Eczema and dermatitis are inflammatory skin disorders, while acne is one of the worst nightmares of adolescents and some adults. Psoriasis is a skin disease which makes skin cells stop growing and lead to inflamed patches or ‘plaques’. All these skin conditions and many other can be treated with topical steroids. Topical treatments have anti-inflammatory effect and can suppress the immune response. The active ingredients in topical preparations are combined with inactive ingredients (known as vehicles). The consistency of the products depend on the inactive ingredients. They are chosen according to the area of the body they will be applied to and the type of skin disorder. Here is more about the topical medications: ointments, creams, lotions, solutions, gels, and powders.Ointments
Ointments are best used when the skin needs lubrication or moisture, as in the case of eczema and dermatitis. They are oily and contain very little water which explains why they can be messy and greasy. Ointments are normally more preferred than creams and other products simply because they deliver better active ingredients into the skin and are less irritating than creams, gels, and lotions. They are most efficient when applied after bathing or dampening the infected area with water.Creams
Creams are emulsions of oil-and-water in approximately equal proportions. In comparison to ointments they are not as occlusive as them. Moreover, patients might prefer creams because they are not so messy and can be washed off with water. There is a wide variety of ingredients, composition, pH, and tolerance among different brands. Creams are relatively non-irritating and have a high rate of acceptance.Lotions
Lotions are not much different than creams except that they have higher water content. They are liquid preparations in which inert or active medicines are suspended or dissolved. Most lotions are aqueous or hydroalcoholic systems: they contain a small amount of alcohol which helps solubilization and fasten evaporation. Most acne lotions are hydroalcoholic, and this is why they are drying and non-sticky. Lotions are not as effective as ointments, creams, and gels at delivering drugs, but they still have a number of benefits. They are easy to apply to large skin areas, and they are useful for cooling or drying inflamed or oozing lesions, as in the case of contact dermatitis.Solutions
Solutions are liquids in which a powder is dissolved. They contain more alcohol than lotions, which causes drying if used as a base ingredient. There might be other liquids included such as alcohol, propylene or glycol. The drying effect solutions have is useful for wet, weeping skin diseases. They are convenient to apply and normally preferred for psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and other similar disorders. There is a risk of irritation, especially when solutions containing alcohol or propylene glycol are applied to open wounds. There can be found a wide variety of solutions, produced by different brands and distributed by pharmahouses.Gels
Gels are thickened transparent preparations with water-alcohol mixtures. They do not contain oil or fat, and therefore, the skin does not absorb them as well as more oily topical steroids. They are usually the best option for conditions that require slow absorption such as acne, roasacea and psoariasis of the scalp. Gels tend to be drying and are useful to be applied to hairy areas. However, they might be quite irritating when used for open wounds.Powders
Powders are either pure drugs themselves, or are made of drugs mixed in a carrier. They are used to protect areas where skin rubs against skins. For instance, between the toes, the armpits, the groin, or under the breasts. Powders are an effective solution for skin that has been softened and damaged by moisture, as they are good at absorbing moisture. They can also treat conditions like fungus or diaper rash.
Fingernails and toenails are made up of layers of keratin which can also be found in nails and skin. Nails provide support and protection for the tissues of the toes and fingers. Healthy nails are smooth and consistent in color. Nail problems affect people of all ages. They can be a result of an infection, inflammatory or metabolic conditions, and rarely of malignances and pigment disturbances. Nail disorders that should be treated include bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, ingrown nails, tumors, and warts. Treatment of nail disorders is not always easy. Over-the-counter products are not considered to be the most reliable way to treat nail infections. Topical treatment might be ineffective because the nail plate is not penetrated by topical medications and the nail matrix is situated under the proximal nail fold. If bothered by the appearance of a nail change, making a medical appointment to have it looked at is not a bad idea. Apart from locally applied medications, doctors also may prescribe oral drugs. Some of them are oral antifungal drugs, medicated nail lacquer, and nail softening kits.Oral antifungal drugs
Oral antifungal drugs are considered to be the better option, as they heal the infection faster than topical medications do. This kind of drugs help a new nail grow, uninfected and slowly replacing the affected part. Oral antifungal drugs are taken from six to twelve weeks, but it might take four months for the infection to go away. They are not free of side effects, so people using this treatment might need to be under medical observation. Doctors usually do not recommend oral antifungal drugs to those who suffer from liver diseases or congestive heart failures.Medicated nail lacquers
Medicated nail lacquers contain ciclopirox, amorolfine, or another agent in a clear, stable film-forming lacquer vehicle. They are very effective for the treatment or prevention of fungal infections. Medicated nail lacquers are applied directly to the infected nails and surrounding skin typically once a day. The layered medicine can be removed with alcohol every seven days, and after that, if necessary, begin fresh applications. It might be used for almost a year. If irritation or intolerance occurs, treatment should be discontinued and another appropriate therapy suggested.Nail softening kits
Nail softening kits might be prescribed to soften the infected parts of the nail which are after that removed with a scraping tool. The paste contains 40% urea and the treatment normally lasts over several weeks. People are recommended this method in severe cases of persistent infection. They need to wash and dry the affected areas first, and then apply the paste to the infected area, place a plaster over the nail, and leave it for a day. The softened area of the nail should be scraped away and the same procedure repeated from two to three weeks.
Ear pain and infections are very common in toddlers and children, but they can also happen to adults. The main reason why children are more likely to develop ear infections is that they have smaller and more horizontal tubes than adults and their ears do not drain fluid as well as adults’ ears do. An earache might affect one or both ears, but it most often occurs in just one ear. Ear infections are mostly caused by a cold or an upper respiratory infection. Children suffer from ear infections approximately two out of three times they have a cold. Furthermore, people who smoke or are around a lot of smoke are more prone to ear infections. There are three types of ear infection defined according to where they occur in the ear canal. An ear infection may take place in the inner ear (labyrinthitis), middle ear (otitis media), the outer ear (swimmer’s ear), or a ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation that separates the ear canal from the middle ear). The symptoms may include discomfort in the ear, dull, sharp, or burning pain. The medications used to treat ear condition include Pseudoephedrine, Neomycin-Polymyxin-Hydrocort Otic, and Fluoroquinolone antibiotics.Pseudoephedrine
Pseudoephedrine is an active ingredient that does not only relieves nasal or sinus congestion, but also eases ear congestion caused by ear inflammation or infection. It can be taken in the form of tablets, capsules, solutions, or syrups. Some products that contain pseudophedrine are over-the-counter, while others are only available with a doctor’s prescription. Over-the-counter preparations should not be given to babies or children under four years of age, as they might have serious and even life-threatening side effects. People with history of high blood pressure should consult their doctor.Neomycin-Polymyxin-Hydrocort Otic
Neomycin-Polymyxin-Hydrocort Otic is a combination of the antibiotics neomycin and polymyxin and the anti-inflammatory corticosteroid hydrocort used to treat outer ear infections (swimmer’s ear). Neomycin and polymyxin work by stopping the growth of bacteria, while hydrocortisone activates natural substances into the ear to reduce swelling, itching, and discomfort. The medication is offered in pharmahouses either as a solution (liquid) or as a suspension (liquid with undissolved particles). It is usually put directly into the affected ear(s), after the ear canal is cleaned and dried, three or four times a day for no more than ten days. It is important to take into consideration that this type of treatment is only for bacterial ear infections and will not relieve any other infections. If not used properly, it would not be effective. It may cause problems to patients diagnosed with ruptured ear drum, an ear infection that is a result of chickenpox, or herpes infection.Fluoroquinolone antibiotics
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics were approved to treat different bacterial infections including ear disorders. The fluoroquinolones specifically available for ear conditions are ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin with dexamethasone. Ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin-dexamethasone are available in the form of ear drops. They treat otitis externa and otitis media with a perforation or when there are ear tubes. The recommended dosage is five drops instilled into the affected ear(s) twice a day for up to 14 days. They should be used carefully, as they can develop side effects such as ear discomfort, itchiness, dizziness, or headache.
Heart disease has caused most deaths in many countries and is considered a major cause of disability, so it should be approached as an issue and taken care of very seriously. Heart disease is an umbrella term encompassing a broad range of heart conditions, and there are different treatment options for each. Heart conditions might affect the arteries (coronary heart disease), the heart muscle (hypertension), or the heart valves which could cause a heart attack. Patients often experience symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, unusual breathlessness and other, but some do not have any symptoms before they are diagnosed. It is important to be aware of the medications, follow the labels, and recognize any possible side effects. Apart from having a healthy lifestyle, heart disease might also be treated with Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers, Cholesterol-lowering drugs (Statins), and Nitrates.Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors reduce strain on the patient’s heart by preventing an enzyme from producing angiotensin II, a hormone that narrows blood vessels and thus increases blood pressure. Lower angiotensin levels let blood flow more easily. This kind of medications can also be prescribed for heart attacks, as they let the heart muscle recover from the lack of oxygen during the attack and help prevent another heart attack. There are many ACE inhibitors available and prescribed according to the patient’s condition. People of African origin and older people do not respond to these drugs as well as white and younger people do. ACE inhibitors are usually taken once a day. Pregnant women and people taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should consult their doctor.Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
Angiotensin II receptor blockers are most often used to lower blood pressure for people who have experienced heart failure, as they block the effects of angiotensin on the heart. Besides, they lessen salt and fluid buildup in one’s body. ARBs can sometimes be prescribed instead of ACE inhibitors if the patient gets side effects from taking the latter. Several ARBs can be found in pharmahouses, and the most appropriate depends on the condition being treated. ARBs can be taken on an empty or full stomach. The number of doses taken for a day is consistent with the type of ARB prescribed and the patient’s diagnosis. It might take a few weeks to feel the full effect of the medication. It is not recommended for pregnant women or women planning pregnancy.Beta-blockers
Beta-blockers, also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, ease the work of the heart by blocking the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine). They can make one’s heart beat more slowly and less forcefully; they lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attack. Moreover, beta-blockers might be prescribed for arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) or angina. Some beta-blockers mainly affect the heart, while others affect both – the heart and the blood vessels. Beta-blockers might not work for people of African origin or older people, especially when not prescribed along with other blood pressure medications. These medicines should not be used by people with asthma, as there is a chance to trigger severe asthmatic attacks. They might also block signs of low blood sugar, so diabetics should be careful and monitor their blood sugar regularly while taking them.Calcium channel blockers
Calcium channel blockers, also called calcium antagonists, treat a variety of conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), chest pain (angina), irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia), and Raynaud's disease. Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure. They affect the muscle cells in the arterial walls and as a result, relax and widen blood vessels and increase blood and oxygen to the heart. There are short-acting and long-acting forms of calcium channel blockers. Short-acting medications work faster, but their effects only last a few hours, while long-lasting ones provide a longer lasting effect. In comparison to the other blood pressure lowering medications, this type of drugs is most effective for people of African origin and older people. Some types might interact with grapefruit products.Cholesterol-lowering drugs (Statins)
Cholesterol-lowering drugs lower cholesterol that builds up in the walls of arteries and thus reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, or other serious problems. Apart from lowering the levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, cholesterol-lowering medicines raise the levels of HDL “good” cholesterol. It has been proven that certain cholesterol drugs decrease the chance of death from heart disease for people from 40 to 75. However, the benefits for the elderly are not completely clear yet. Patients are likely to be prescribed statins if they have very high “bad” cholesterol or if their risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke is very high. Statins are well tolerated by most people, but should not be taken by those who have some forms of advanced liver disease.Nitrates
Nitrates are prescribed to widen the furred up blood vessels and increase blood flow. The heart can get more blood flow and oxygen. They prevent or treat angina (chest pain) and are also appropriate in the case of heart failure. Pharmahouses offer various brands of nitrates in the form of short-acting or long-acting nitrate medicines. Short-acting nitrates can be taken by patients suffering from angina. They relieve angina symptoms within a few minutes. These medicines are sprays or tablets that are placed under the tongue. Long-lasting nitrate drugs prevent angina symptoms. These normally come as tablets that should be swallowed whole. Nitrates can interfere with some other medications which might lead to problems. For example, men should not take Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs with nitrate medicines.
The digestive system is mainly made up of the gastrointestinal tract, also called the GI tract or digestive tract. The organs the GI tract consists of are esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus. The digestive system breaks down food and liquids into small parts (nutrients) which the body absorbs and uses as energy and building blocks for cells. Everyone has experienced digestive problems at least a few times in their life. Digestive problems are any problems that are an obstacle for the normal functioning of the GI track. Indigestion and heartburn, affecting the stomach, are common problems. Inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome are intestine disorders that can impair one’s quality of life. Some problems can be relieved with over-the-counter medications, while prescription drugs are needed for others. Some of types of medicines for digestive problems are acid reducers, antacids, antidiarrheals, and laxatives.Acid reducers
Acid reducers help reduce the production of stomach acid. There can be found two types of drugs in pharmahouses: histamine antagonists (H2 antagonists or H2 blockers), and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). H2 medicines work by blocking the action of histamine at the histamine receptors of the parietal cells in the stomach resulting in decreased production of stomach acid. PPIs are considered to be more effective at healing and relieving symptoms of ulcer and reflux disease. They block the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that is responsible for the production of acid. Some of them are sold over the counter to treat frequent heartburn. Acid reducers are generally well tolerated and, according to the instructions, should be taken two or more times for 14 days.Antacids
Antacids are used to treat symptoms of pain and discomfort caused by heartburn, acid reflux, stomach upset, acid indigestion. They can also alleviate the feeling of pressure in the stomach or guts and break up gas bubbles. This medicine works on existing acid in the stomach by neutralizing it and relieving stomach and esophagus irritation. Antacids also work by inhibiting the activity of pepsin, a digestive enzyme produced in the stomach that is only activated in an acid environment, and considered to be harmful to the lining of the stomach. Liquid antacids usually have an effect quicker than tablets or capsules. They are taken orally, usually after meals and at bedtime. This product might interfere with other medicines, preventing their full absorption, so if combined with other drugs, it is important to seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist.Antidiarrheals
Antidiarrheals help treat sudden diarrhea and some other symptoms that go along with it. This type of medicine slows down the movement of the bowel and makes the stool less watery. This allows more time for water and salts to be absorbed back in the body. It also relieves the cramps that often accompany diarrhea. Antidiarrheals are taken as tablets, liquids, caplets, and chewable tablet forms. They can usually be purchased without a prescription. The dosage depends on the type of antidiarrheal drug. Diarrhea improves within a day or two, so if the condition does not go away for that period or keeps coming back, it might be an indicator of a more serious problem and it is necessary to receive medical attention.Laxatives
Laxatives relieve and prevent constipation by working in the intestine and absorbing more water to help create bigger stools that the bowel gets the urge to move. Many safe, over-the-counter laxatives are available to treat occasional constipation. Even though many different kinds of laxatives are available over the counter, it is advisable to receive some medical advice. Not all laxatives are suitable for long-term use. Overusing certain laxatives can cause dependency and decrease the function of the bowel. Fiber laxatives, or also bulk-forming, are believed to be the gentlest option and the best one to use in the long term. Laxatives are not recommended for children or people having certain conditions (for example, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis).
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac found underneath the liver. Its main function is to store bile produced by the liver and release it into the small intestine to help the process of breaking down food, especially fatty foods. Normally, the gallbladder is not a subject of health concern, but some people might happen to be affected by gallbladder conditions. Common gallbladder disorders include biliary colic, dysfunctional gallbladder or chronic gallbladder disease, gallstones (cholelithiasis), inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis), and sclerosing cholangitis. The methods to deal with gallbladder problems vary from a healthy lifestyle and a special diet, through taking some drugs, to in the most serious cases, its removal through surgical procedures. Apart from antibiotics, common pain relievers, and other Cholesterol-lowering drugs (described above in the context of heart diseases), the most popular medication for certain gallbladder stones is Ursodiol (ursodeoxycholic acid or UDCA).Ursodiol (ursodeoxycholic acid or UDCA)
Ursodiol is a medicine for gallbladder stones smaller than 20 mm. It helps dissolve gallstones and is also used to prevent gallstones in overweight patients who are losing weight very quickly. Ursodiol works by suppressing hepatic secretion and decreasing the production and absorption of cholesterol, so that it is not able to form stones. It comes as a capsule that is taken orally. Its dosage is usually two or three times a day when treating gallstones and two times a day when the purpose is to prevent gallstones from developing. The effect comes within a few months. Some patients take Ursodiol for up to two years. There might be some side effects such as constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach, which if experienced severely, should be treated by a doctor.
The liver is the largest and most complex organ in the body, located in the upper right hand-side of the abdomen. It performs numerous crucial tasks related to the conversion of food to energy (metabolism). Liver stores and transports most of the nutrients that are absorbed by the intestine and removes toxins and impurities, such as alcohol, medicines, and potentially harmful chemicals, from the blood through a specialized filtering system. The fat-soluble vitamins D and E are also stored in the liver. Liver diseases involve damage to the liver that does not allow it to function normally. These are very dangerous, as if there is a problem affecting the processes of detoxification and metabolism, it has negative consequences for the entire body. Treating liver disease depends much on whether the disease is acute or chronic and the type of condition the patient has been diagnosed with. Cholesterol lowering medications and antihistamines are prescribed for certain conditions. This section focuses on hepatitis of all liver diseases and provides information about the beneficial medicines for viral hepatitis infection, namely antiviral drugs and synthetic interferon.Hepatitis
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by the virus hepatitis. It disrupts the functions of the liver and leads to severe health problems throughout the body. The inflammation comes as a result of the white blood cells sent by the immune system to surround the infected area and protect the body. This causes redness, swelling and general discomfort and pain. Therefore, patients with hepatitis are in danger of cirrhosis (swelling of the liver), liver cancer, liver failure, and death. The most common hepatitis viruses are A, B, and C. The characteristics and ways of transmission of each type are different, but the symptoms tend to be the same.Antiviral drugs
Antiviral drugs are used to fight some types of the virus hepatitis and slow its ability to replicate and damage the liver. These drugs are usually taken orally, but some are also injected. They effectively suppress the virus, but rarely cure the viral infection. There is evidence that some patients who received an antiviral drug around the time they underwent liver transplantation were able to avoid further reinfection. Some antiviral drugs have provided a vast improvement in hepatitis virus treatment by preventing the virus from replicating and rising the sustained virological response rates with approximately 15%. There are various kinds of antiviral drugs, and their use depends on the type of the virus and the strain.Synthetic interferon
Synthetic interferon is a powerful medicine which the hepatitis types B, C, and D are treated with. It is similar to the protein interferon naturally produced by the body to fight off a virus or another intruder. Synthetic interferon can prevent a serious liver damage by stopping the virus from infecting new cells and by positively affecting the immune system. Medical researchers have discovered that different forms of viral hepatitis respond to different types of synthetic interferon. For instance, hepatitis B is treated with alpha-2b, while hepatitis C and D is treated with the newfound PEGylated interferon. The medicine helps the body differentiate the infected cells from the non-infected cells, targeting the infected ones for destruction. Many believe that interferon treatment is the gold standard to deal with hepatitis. It has successfully cured a certain percentage of patients from hepatitis A, B, and C, but there are some side effects which should be taken into account. These may be constant fatigue, depression, suicidal feelings, and serious damage to other organs – kidneys, bone marrow, and heart.
Kidneys are a pair of internal organs located at the bottom of the rib cage, on each side of the spine. They are vital to having a healthy body. Inside each kidney there are approximately a million tiny structures called nephrons. Their function is to filter blood and remove unnecessary substances (excess water and other impurities and toxins) which become urine. This is how they regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels. Furthermore, kidneys produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells. Many people are affected by kidney diseases which often attack the nephrons and are an obstacle for kidneys to perform their functions and remove wastes. For example, chronic kidney disease slowly damages the nephrons. Other kidney conditions include kidney stones, glomerulonephritis, cysts, and infections. Treatment methods depend on the underlying cause, some types of kidney diseases might be treated, while there is no cure for others. It is important to treat kidney conditions, as they can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke. Some drugs that bring relief or lead to improvement are diuretics, erythropoietin-stimulating agents, and phosphate (phosphorous) blinders.Diuretics
Diuretics, also known as water tablets, are designed to treat a wide range of conditions including high blood pressure, glaucoma, and edema. They work by increasing the amount of water and salts produced by the kidneys. There are different kinds of diuretics: thiazide, loop, and potassium-sparing. Each of them affects a different part of the kidney and which one is best to use depends on the patient’s condition. Not only are diretics prescribed for health issues such as heart and liver disorders, along with other medications, but they are also a relevant treatment for kidney stones and other kidney conditions. They are usually safe and side effects can occur very rarely. It is recommended when taking diuretics to drink liquids, because otherwise the medication would be less effective and higher doses should be taken.Erythropoietin-stimulating agents
Erythropoietin-stimulating agents are mostly prescribed in the cases of chronic (long-lasting) kidney disease or end-stage renal kidney disease. Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone that healthy kidneys produce to promote the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, they do not make enough EPO, which decreases the red blood cells and causes anemia – a condition during which people feel constantly tired, weak, cold, and generally not well. Erythropoietin-stimulating agents are needed to treat anemia related to kidney dysfunction by replacing the natural production of erythropoietin with an injection of synthetic erythropoietin. Patients are taught how to use EPO on their own at home. However, it is also used in clinics. There are a few brands of erythropoietin available. People taking this medication might be at risk of blood clots, heart attack or failure, or “iron overload”, so it is advisable to regularly consult their doctor.Phosphate (phosphorous) blinders
Phosphate (phosphorous) blinders are a commonly prescribed class of medicines for patients on dialysis (a process that replaces the function of the kidneys) with necessity to control their phosphorous levels in a healthy range. Phosphate blinders prevent the body from absorbing the phosphate from the nutrients in the body; thus it is passed out of the body, reducing the amount phosphorous that gets into the blood. There are four types of phosphate blinders: calcium-free, aluminum-free, calcium-based, and aluminum-based. The doctors decide which one is best, depending on the patient’s condition and needs. Phosphate blinders should either be taken about 15 minutes before food or while eating. It is very important to take the medication in combination with a low-phosphate diet in order to be active and healthy.
The urinary bladder is an essential part of the urinary system of the human body, along with other crucial organs like kidneys, ureters, sphincter muscles, and urethra. The bladder is a balloon shaped organ located above and behind the pubic bone. It is a muscular sac which serves to store urine and controls urination. A healthy bladder accumulates urine until it eventually reaches its capacity and sends signals to the brain that it must be emptied. The functions of the bladder might be affected by a number of diseases with a different level of complexity and seriousness. A bladder condition can turn a routine bodily function into a major lifestyle disruption and cause great discomfort. The four most common disorders treated are overactive bladder, urinary inconsistence, urinary retention, and interstitial cystitis. They can lead to uncontrollable urination or inability to fully empty the bladder and also a feeling of pain and pressure in the bladder and pelvis. Some of the medicines used to treat bladder problems are anticholinergics, mirabegron, imipramine, vaginal estrogen, and pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron).Anticholinergics drugs
Anticholinergics drugs relax bladder muscles and reduce its overactivity and the feeling of urgency by blocking the signals sent from a chemical messenger to the brain which create the fake need to urinate even when the bladder is not full. These medicines also help prevent involuntary leakage by controlling bladder spasms. Anticholinergics drugs involve several types – oxybutynin, tolterodine, darifenacin, solifenacin, trospium, and fesoterodine. It is arguable which one is most effective and doctors might take into consideration the patient’s age, gender and other factors when prescribing them. They come in the form of pills and tablets when taken by mouth. Oxybutynin is also available as a cream or skin patch. It might take a while for the symptoms to begin to improve. The full effect is likely to be experienced in up to twelve weeks. Most types of anticholinergics drugs require a prescription, but the patch is sold over the counter in pharmahouses.Mirabegron
Mirabegron is a prescription drug approved to help people with symptoms of urge urinary inconsistence, urgency, and urinary frequency. It relaxes the muscle that surrounds the bladder and can increase the amount of urine that the bladder can store. Besides, it could also increase the amount of urine people are able to expel at once, thus fully emptying the bladder. Mirabegron exists as an extended-release tablet taken by mouth. It might be prescribed alone or in combination with other drugs such as solifenacin. The medicine interacts with various medications, so the doctor should be informed about the medications the patient is taking before they start taking mirabegron.Imipramine
Imipramine belongs to the group of tricyclic antidepressants. It is another medication used to treat urinary urgency and inconsistence. It relieves the bladder and makes the smooth muscles at the bladder neck to contract. It is normally prescribed along with other medicines. Not only does imipramine help for urinary problems, but it is also effective in the case of depression and neuropathic pain. However, the dose used to treat depression and neuropathic pain is not the same as the dose intended for bladder conditions. The dose for urinary problems is often taken at night.Vaginal estrogen
Vaginal estrogen is a suitable product for women who have experienced deterioration of the supportive tissues around the bladder and urethra after menopause. This condition is a result of the decreased levels of naturally produced estrogen and can weaken the tissues and potentially cause stress inconsistence. Applying low-dose topical vaginal estrogen in the form of cream, ring, or a patch positively affects tissues and relieves some inconsistency symptoms. It is not advisable to use topical estrogen if the patient has experienced breast cancer or uterine cancer in the past. If used as directed, topical estrogen, medications are very unlikely to cause side effects.Pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron)
Pentosan polysulfate sodium is the only oral medicine approved for treating the pain and discomfort of interstitial cystitis. Elmiron is believed to affect the bladder by restoring its damaged surface, which protects the bladder wall from bacteria and other substances in urine that could irritate the bladder. It might take two or three months before the medication brings relief and around six months or more to decrease urinary frequency. Elmiron is likely to be prescribed along with other drugs such as low-dose tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, etc. There is no report for Elmiron to negatively interact with other medicines. Regular blood tests checking liver function are recommended when taking the medication, as Elmiron is metabolized by the liver.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that only appears in men. It is located between the bladder and the penis, right in front of the rectum. Prostate functions to produce a thick white fluid that when mixed with sperm helps make semen. It also produces a special protein called prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) to turn semen into liquid. Prostate contracts during ejaculation and closes off the opening between the bladder and urethra, thus pushing semen through at speed. Prostate gland can slowly grow with aging and if it gets too large it might cause problems. Older men are more likely to have complaints. The most common types of prostate disorders are inflammation (prostatitis), non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, and prostate cancer. Approximately 25% of men aged 55 years and over have a prostate condition. This is why men in their 50s or 60s should regularly have their prostate gland checked. There are certain medical products offered in pharmahouses which when prescribed by doctors can bring relief and treat some prostate conditions. The most commonly used of these are: alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductanse inhibitors.Alpha-blockers
Alpha-blockers, also called alpha-adrenergic antagonists, are prescribed for all symptomatic types of prostatitis and urinary problems. This kind of drug helps relax the muscles around the urethra and the neck of the bladder, so that urine can flow more freely. The ability of alpha-blockers to ease urine expulsion also decreases pressure and inflammation and might reduce the prostate pain. There are several types of alpha-blockers in pharmahouses, in either short-acting or long-acting forms. Short-acting medications work quickly, but their effect lasts only a few hours. It typically takes longer to feel the effect of the long-acting ones, but it lasts longer. Doctors decide which type is best for the patients according to the health condition being treated. Sometimes alpha-blockers can be taken in combination with antibiotics to improve the therapy and decrease the chance of recurrence. Alpha-blockers are not free of side effects and some of these can last months and even years after the end of the therapy. They might cause ejaculation problems and priapism (a painful orgasm lasting longer than four hours). If this occurs, a doctor should be seen right away.5-alpha-reductanse inhibitors
5-alpha-reductanse inhibitors are commonly used as an enlarged prostate treating method (benign prostate hyperplasia or BHP). They slow down the process of growing of the prostate gland by interfering with the action of 5-alpha reductase enzyme. This is an enzyme that converts the male hormone testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The interference leads to declined DHT levels in the prostate. DHT contributes to the prostate growth, so 5-alpha-reductanse inhibitors work to reduce its production. The decreased prostate size improves urine flow and pain levels may go down. The 5-alpha-reductance inhibitors are also often prescribed for chronic prostatic or pelvic pain syndrome sufferers. The side effects associated with this type of medication mostly affect sexual life and could influence high-grade prostate cancer. Men should talk to their doctor how their overall quality of life could be affected.
The term rheumatism is used to designate a number of rheumatic diseases affecting the connecting or supporting parts of the human body – joints, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Most of these problems occur when the body tissues are targeted by the immune system. It is believed that rheumatism might either be influenced by genetics or by external factors including cigarette smoke and pollution. Rheumatism might also result from damage to cartilage, as in the case of osteoarthritis. Nowadays patients can be diagnosed with over 200 rheumatoid disorders. There are many forms of arthritis that particularly cause pain and inflammation to the joints. There are also conditions such as lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, gout, and scleroderma. Rheumatism has consequences for other organs, and people suffering from the most severe rheumatoid conditions may experience great pain and disability. It is very important to obtain a specific diagnosis and a strict treatment plan by a rheumatologist. Apart from various helpful exercises, patients are also likely to be prescribed medicines that treat symptoms or slow or prevent the progression of their disease. Rheumatoid disorders are commonly treated with non-narcotic and narcotic analgesics, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS), and biologic response modifiers (Biologics).Non-narcotic and narcotic analgesics
Non-narcotic and narcotic analgesics are prescribed to relieve pain in patients with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. However, they do not work for inflammation, so they are frequently taken along with other drugs. Some analgesics are intended for short-term use, while others should be taken as a part of long-term drug regiment to control pain. Narcotic analgesics, also known as opioids, are available only with a prescription in the cases of severe pain which non-narcotic medicines could not deal with. Narcotics include codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc. They must be used very carefully, as they carry a greater risk of side effects. A long-term use of this type of analgesics might lead to tolerance and addiction and an accidental overdose might have fatal consequences.Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are commonly used for certain forms of arthritis. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritic, juvenile idiopathic arthritis or lupus usually end up taking at least one type of DMARDs. There is no cure for these disorders, but in combination with other remedies, DMARDs can preserve the joints from damage and deformity. They work by suppressing the immune system and blocking inflammation that would slowly destroy joint tissue over the years. It may take many weeks and months for the effects to be noticed. DMARDs have an effect on the entire body, so there is a chance to interfere with other drugs. Besides, they are not recommended for pregnant women or women planning pregnancy.Biologics
Biologics are the newest kind of drugs produced to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They have considerably improved the quality of life for people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Being made with the use of biotechnology, biologics act as natural proteins in the immune system. They remarkably slow the progression of the disorder by blocking cytokines (the proteins causing immune response), thus reducing inflammation. Overall, biologics are the best option for patients with a serious condition or for those who need more than just the traditional DMARDs. There is evidence that they are more effective when used in an earlier stage of the disease. They can be taken alone or combined with DMARD methotrexate and other drugs. They normally do not have any serious side effects, but any drugs that suppress the immune system carry risks, so the doctor should be informed if any unusual symptoms appear.
People diagnosed with diabetes have very high blood glucose, or blood sugar levels. This condition comes as a result of the inability of the body to make enough insulin to keep the blood sugar levels normal. The hormone insulin is crucial for conversion of the sugar into energy. There are two different forms of diabetes, known as type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In the case of type 1 diabetes the pancreas no longer makes insulin naturally, as the immune system mistakenly attacks itself and destroys beta cells. Patients having type 1 diabetes need to take insulin several times a days, mostly with meals. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and occurs when the body makes insulin, but does not use it properly. This is called insulin resistance. Along with healthy food choices and physical activity, medications can help diabetics manage the disease. Medicines vary according to the type of diabetes and how well they control blood glucose levels. They may include diabetes pills or injections under the skin. Commonly used diabetes drugs are biguanide (metformin), sulfonylureas, pramlintide, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs), and sodium glucose transporter (SGLT) 2 inhibitors.Biguanide (Metformin)
Biguanide is an oral medicine, often one of the first prescribed to a patient who has been newly diagnosed with diabetes. Mainly used for type 2 diabetes, the most common type of biguanide is metformin. Metformin lowers blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of glucose made by the liver. Additionally, it makes the body more sensitive to insulin and helps the muscle cells absorb more glucose. Metformin can be found as an immediate release tablet, an extended release tablet, and a solution. The doctor may prescribe biguanide in combination with other medicines to achieve blood glucose control. Metformin should not be taken by patients who have kidney problems, as it might worsen them.Sulfonylureas
Sulfonylureas are among the oldest medications still used today to treat type 2 diabetes. In order to be effective, it is important for this kind of medicines to be combined with a healthy lifestyle including a special diet and exercises. It reduces the risk of developing serious complications such as heart disease, kidney conditions, nerve damage, or eye problems. Sulfonylureas stimulate the pancreas to release a larger amount of insulin with the beta cells, which lowers glucose levels. They also help insulin to work more effectively. They are taken once or twice a day with or before meals. If patients are prescribed sulfonylureas, it is important to not skip meals, because that might cause hypoglycemia (too low glucose levels).Pramlintide
Pramlintide is an injectable medication, approved for the treatment of insulin-using people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is a synthetic analogue of the hormone amylin, secreted by the beta cells in response to increased blood sugar levels. In the case of type 1 and type 2 diabetes the amylin naturally produced by the body is either not enough or absent. The lack of amylin makes the glucose from food enter the bloodstream faster than usual, which leads to increased glucose levels. Pramlintide reduces the rise in blood glucose after meals by slowing the speed with which food leaves the stomach and suppressing the secretion of glucagon. It might decrease appetite and cause weight loss in some people. It is a suitable medicine for adults who struggle to achieve control of their glucose levels when using intensive insulin therapy. Pramlintide is measured in micrograms and can be injected under the skin or in the stomach area. This medicine should not be taken by people with hypoglycemia unawareness or gastroparesis.Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs)
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs) are pills prescribed for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. In particular, there are two kinds of medicines that belong to that class: acarbose and miglitol. They were produced to keep the blood glucose levels from going up after meals. AGIs slow down digestion by blocking enzymes in the small intestine that function to break down carbohydrates and as a result reducing the rise in glucose levels. The benefit of AGIs is that they do not increase the chance of weight gain. The pills are usually taken three times a day with the first bite of a meal. There are some side effects which gradually fade away when the therapy begins with small doses which slowly increase with time. It is not suitable for people with certain intestine conditions.Sodium glucose transporter (SGLT) 2 inhibitors
Sodium glucose transporter (SGLT) 2 inhibitors are a new class of diabetic oral medications, available in pharmahouses for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They reduce the absorbed amount of glucose in the kidneys by blocking the sodium-glucose proteins. The excess glucose is expelled through urination. This is how SGLT 2 inhibitors do not allow reabsorption and lead to decreased blood glucose levels. When combined with a healthy diet and exercises, they can improve glycemic control by increasing the insulin sensitivity and positively affecting the uptake of glucose in muscle cells. Furthermore, there is evidence that they show cardiac benefits for diabetics. They are taken once a day with or without food. However, there is a higher chance of dehydration and genital and urinary tract infections because of the growth of urinary glucose.
Smoking cessation is the process of discontinuing tobacco smoking. Many smokers become addicted to nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products and then quitting turns into a great and hardly achievable challenge despite the awareness that tobacco increases the risk of numerous serious health issues. Cigarettes are responsible for many cases of coronary heart disease, stroke, breathing problems, lung cancer or cancer in other parts of the body. They have been proven to cause a great number of deaths every year. Quitting at any age is positive for people’s health and once it is done, the body starts recovering and much further damage could be avoided. It is never an easy step to take, but fortunately, nowadays there are many prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines at pharmahouses that can help smokers temporarily replace the nicotine, cope with the cravings, and withdraw symptoms. Some of the most widespread medicines include nicotine patch, gum, lozenges, nicotine inhaler, bupropion, and varenicline.Nicotine patch
Nicotine patch is a nicotine replacement therapy product that delivers nicotine through the skin. It helps deal with symptoms of nicotine withdraw such as irritability, mood swings, inability to concentrate, anxiety, etc. When applied to the skin, a nicotine patch delivers a certain amount of the dose the body would receive from tobacco products. It is gradually reduced until the former smoker no longer craves nicotine. It should be placed once a day to a non-hairy area on the upper body or upper outer arm and replaced with a new one after 24 hours. The therapy normally continues around six weeks. The medication is most effective when used as a part of a well-planned program. It is likely to considerably increase the chance of smoking cessation. Nicotine patches are available over the counter, but it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider.Nicotine gum
Nicotine gum is another smoking cessation aid that quickly provides nicotine to the body to decrease the above mentioned withdraw symptoms. It could be used regularly by chewing a small piece every one or two hours for the first six weeks. After that people can gradually diminish the dosage, chewing it every two to four hours for three weeks and then four to eight hours for three more weeks. Users should chew it until it softens and produces tingling sensation. The gum is after that “parked” in between the cheek and gums, and when the tingling disappears, the whole procedure is repeated again. People who have chosen this method should not chew too fast or one piece too soon after another, as it might cause hiccups, heartburn, nausea, and other unfavorable side effects. Nicotine gum can be purchased over the counter and should be used for no more than twelve weeks. If people still feel the need to use it, they should consult their doctor. In combination with a smoke cessation plan, there is a high chance of success.Nicotine lozenges
Nicotine lozenges come in the form of over-the-counter dissolving tablets that people should hold in their mouth to ease their withdraw symptoms. They remind of hard candies and can be found in a variety of flavors. Former smokers should take one at a time and let it slowly dissolve by using their tongue to occasionally move it. This procedure is repeated every one or two hours for six weeks and every two to four hours from the seventh to the ninth week. For weeks 10th to 12th the dosage is one lozenge every four to eight hours. It is recommended to not eat at least 15 minutes before use. Acid drinks should be avoided, as nicotine lozenges might interfere with them. Using the medication longer than directed can increase the risk of side effects and withdraw symptoms. Nicotine lozenges are the better option for those who do not want to or cannot chew a nicotine gum.Nicotine inhaler
Nicotine inhaler is another kind of nicotine replacement therapy. Each nicotine inhaler consists of a plastic cartridge and a mouthpiece. This option is preferred by many ex-smokers due to the reason the inhalator resembles the most the experience of smoking a cigarette. Each cartridge contains ten mg of nicotine and lasts approximately 20 minutes. Only four mg nicotine can be inhaled and half of it absorbed into the body through the membranes in the mouth and throat. This medication can be obtained only with a prescription and the patients need to use it as instructed by their doctor. Ex-smokers normally begin the therapy with six nicotine cartridges a day for three to six weeks. The maximum of cartridges that can be used daily if necessary is 16 for no more than twelve weeks. After that the dosage is gradually reduced. The inhalator doubles the chance of quitting and could be even more effective when combined with nicotine patches.Bupropion
Bupropion is a prescription antidepressant medicine that in the case of smoking cessation helps to lessen nicotine cravings and withdraw symptoms. It differs from the other medicines in that it does not contain nicotine. It works by affecting chemicals in the brain that are related to nicotine craving. Bupropion is most effective when people start taking it one or two weeks before they quit smoking. It is usually taken for twelve weeks, or as needed. The initial dosage is one 150 mg tablet a day which the doctor might decide to double. It is very important for Bupropion tablets to be swallowed whole and not chewed. Side effects include dry mouth and sleeping problems, but they tend to go away after the first week of nicotine replacement therapy.Varenicline
Varenicline is a prescription medicine that reduces the feeling of enjoyment from smoking and the discomfort after quitting. It acts on nicotine receptors by blocking the pleasant effects in the brain. The therapy should also be started about a week before the quit date. This type of medicine comes in the form of pill and is swallowed with water after meals. People typically take it once a day at first and then the doctor might slowly increase the dosage to twice a day. Varenicline is most often given for 12 weeks, but patients who manage to quit during that period is likely to prolong their treatment in order to increase their chances of complete withdraw. It is advisable to gradually decrease the amount of cigarettes smoked each day. It may take a few weeks to experience the full effect of varenicline. It does not lead to addiction, but some users may experience irritability and sleep trouble.
Sexual health is the state of physical, emotional, and social well-being related to sexuality. Sexually healthy people are those able to have satisfying and safe sexual experiences. However, some adults can happen to face sexual difficulties and disorders which become an obstacle for them to experience sexual intimacy and pleasure. Sexual problems might begin early in a person’s life, gradually develop with time, or occur suddenly. The good news is that many sexual disorders respond to treatment and there are many different ways to deal with them. The most common problem among men is erectile dysfunction (impotence), associated with the inability to attain erection. The chance of experiencing a form of erectile dysfunction is higher for men over 40, but with a personalized regimen and appropriate medicines, they can manage this condition and improve their sexual life. The sexual issues that women are most frequently affected by include painful intercourse, inability to become aroused, and hypoactive sexual desire. Fortunately, pharmahouses offer medical solutions for these problems as well. Some of the most popular drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction in men are sildenafil (Viagra), testosterone, alprostadil, while some of the medications approved specifically for women are osphena (ospemifene), and flibanserin.Sildenafil (Viagra)
Sildenafil, mostly recognized under the name Viagra, exists in the form of prescription oral tablets used to treat erectile dysfunction. In conjunction with sexual stimulation, sildenafil increases the blood flow to the penis, thus improving erection and allows successful penetrative sexual intercourse. Sildenafil is most efficient when used an hour before sexual activity, but it can also work if taken from 30 minutes to four beforehand. It should not be taken more than once a day. A high-fat meal may delay the desired effect. The medicine is also used by men, women, and children aged over one to treat other conditions such as pulmonary hypertension. The most common side effects include headache, upset stomach, and dizziness, but they are very unlikely to be experienced. When taken along with nitrates or guanylate cyclase stimulators, sildenafil can lead to serious consequences.Testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. Its deficiency can cause erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, and reduced sperm count. Testosterone replacement therapy is another way to deal with erection problems when the levels of testosterone produced by the body naturally drop with age. Testosterone as a medicine can be found in many different forms – transdermal creams and gels, oral capsules, transdermal patches, solutions, etc. It is likely to restore sexual desire and positively influence men’s sexual life, but before using it, men should take into consideration that it could also contribute to the development of prostate cancer, heart attack, or stroke. Patients who are prescribed this kind of treatment have regular checks and if their testosterone levels have become too high, they are told to stop using these drugs or lower the dosage.Alprostadil
Alprostadil is a medicine that helps deal with erectile dysfunction by expanding the blood vessels and improving blood flow throughout the body, including the penis. It is only available in pharmahouses by prescription and it can be either injected directly into the penis or inserted as pellets and it also exists in the form of cream. The injected alprostadil can cause an erection for sexual activity in most men having erectile dysfunction, regardless of their age or the cause of their condition. It should be used no more than three times a week in an interval of at least 24 hours. Depending on its form, its effect typically comes in five to 20 minutes after use. The erection lasts from 30 minutes to 2 hours and might continue after ejaculation. Alprostadil is only prescribed under certain circumstances as if not used properly, it can cause serious irreversible damage to the penis. The most common side effect is pain in the area where alprostadil is injected, so patients should try to slightly change the place every time to avoid discomfort and skin problems.Osphena (Ospemifene)
Osphena (Osphemifene) is the only medication approved for the treatment of pain during sexual intercourse in women after menopause. The pain is experienced due to vulvar and vaginal atrophy. Osphena is not estrogen, but has the same effect as estrogen in some parts of the body. It improves the condition of specific vaginal tissues which has been caused by menopause and as a result relieves severe to moderate painful sexual activity. The needed dosage is usually 60mg once a day with food. It should be used for a short period, as it might lead to some complications. It may rise the risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia which might cause cancer of the uterus, a stroke, or a blood clot. It is not appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Patients should regularly be in touch with their doctor and discuss whether they still need the treatment.Flibanserin
Flibanserin is produced to treat decreased sexual desire (hypoactive sexual desire disorder) in premenopausal women who have not had the same problem in the past and are concerned about it. It acts on serotonergic neurons in the brain and affects indirectly dopamine and norepinephrine as well as restores women’s natural sexual desire. The needed dosage (around 100mg) is taken orally once a day before going to bed. It is advisable to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice during the therapy as combined with the pill, it might increase the chance of experiencing side effects. Moreover, patients using this medication are forbidden to drink alcohol as this combination can cause very low blood pressure. Filbanserin is sold only in certified pharmahouses under a special program. The symptoms might improve in up to eight weeks after the beginning of the therapy. It should not be taken when the low sexual desire is a result of other drugs, a medical condition, a mental disorder, or relationship problems. Filbanserin is also not suitable for men and women who have gone through menopause. The most common side effects are dizziness and fainting due to a drop in blood pressure.