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Protect your health with smart choice of medicines

KIDERA Kenji

Protect your health with smart choice of medicines

All medicines are accompanied by risks. It would be the best if you could live healthily without taking any medicine. When it is absolutely necessary, we need to choose and use correctly for ourselves and our family's safety. This time we will explain how cleverly you can choose your medicines.

If you improve your knowledge of medicine, you can stop wasting medicine

People who like to take medicine tend to trust the safety of medicine too much and take them dangerously, such as drinking not with water but with the beverages like tea, coffee, alcohol, etc., taking twice as much medicine at once, or take medicines prescribed for others. It is a waste if you spend a lot of money and cause side effects by yourself.

We are unable to arbitrarily stop or reduce the amount of medicines prescribed in hospitals. However, simply changing it to the generic medicine from patented one can reduce the financial burden on households. In order to take your medicines safely and efficiently, let's review your previous habits with medicine.

Our bodies have "natural healing power" to cure diseases by themselves

Among the medicines in the market, there is "causal treatment" which fixes the disease from the cause and "symptomatic treatment" which only relieves painful symptoms. Overall, there are more of the latter predominantly. A typical example is a cold medicine.

Cold medicines suppress symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, but here is no effect of curing the cold itself. It is the natural healing power (immunity) of the body that cures the common cold.

If you reduce your fever with medicine, your natural healing ability will be weakened and your cold may prolong. No diseases can be cured just with medicine. It is more important to avoid easy escape to medicines but build a healthy body that does not rely on medicine.

Cause treatment: It cures a disease from the origin by breaking the causative bacteria, viruses, and cells, but some treatments such as anticancer agents could easily damage healthy cells.

Examples of cause treatment medicine: Anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics, anti-HIV agents, antituberculous agents, anti-influenza agents.

Symptomatic treatment: It improves the condition, prevents deterioration and seizures. Diseases with complicated causes are difficult to remove by medicines. There are also many diseases whose cause has not been fully elucidated.

Examples of symptomatic treatment medicines: Medicine for common cold, antipyretic analgesics, antihypertensives, antidiabetic, antiosteoporotic agents, antiasthmatic, antidepressants, sleeping pills, antipsychotics, etc.

New (Patented) and generic medicines, their effects are exactly same

There are new (patented) and generic in prescription medicines. New medicines are newly developed and approved by its country. Because development costs enormous cost and years, rights of developers are protected in the patent system, other companies cannot sell the same ingredients until the patent expires after 8 to 10 years after its release. Generic medicines are created with the same ingredients as new medicines after their patents expired, and the cost is very reasonable, about 20 to 50% of new medicines.

There are still many people who dislike generic medicines. One reason is that some people still doubt the effect and safety are as reliable as new medicines.

Actually, the active ingredients of both are 100 percent same. The only differences would be shape, colors, and/or additives. Especially for medicines you take continuously for a long time, it can be said that it is economically better to convert it to generic medicines.

Some may think that the over-the-counter (OTC) medicines have lower efficacy and side effects compared with the prescription medicines. However, some OTC medicines contain the same ingredients and work as same as prescription medicines. It is important not to take just with your own standard but to follow the direction of pharmacist.

The efficacy of medicine is not correlated to the price

When you buy medicine at a pharmacy, you often decide by the visual of package and the price. If the price is too low, you may feel uneasy about the effect. But the effect of the medicine is not determined by price. More costly medicines do not necessarily contain more ingredients that are active. Choose whatever suits your symptoms, not by the price.

Although it varies from country to country, in Japan, the prices of OTC medicines can be determined freely by manufacturers, whereas the prices of prescription medicines are decided by the nation. Although the price of hypertension is a few cents to several dollars, one injection of anticancer drugs is about tens of thousands of dollars, and the range varies by medicine. Medicines with revolutionary actions and for diseases with fewer patients, the price tends to become higher.

Medicine is not 100% safe

Safety is confirmed over a long period of time from the development to the review of its release.

First of all, we check the toxicity on animals.
And then, in subsequent clinical trials on tens to thousands of people, safety is confirmed.

Even though examining safety with such time and effort, unexpected side effects may occur after sales because individual specificity such as physical constitution is large.

Do not overestimate its safety as "Because it is a medicine that the country has admitted." It is important to fully understand the risks and pay attention to side effects.

In clinical trials, safety to pregnant women, neonates, infants have hardly been ascertained because it cannot be examined as an ethical reason. Therefore, most medicines have the precaution that "safety for pregnant women and neonates has not been established".

Pregnant women and newborn babies basically need to avoid medicine as much as possible. When using it, please pay extra attention to changes in your physical condition.

Summary

This time I explained how to choose medicines cleverly. We hope that you now understand how to reduce wasteful medicines. There are still many people who do not know that generic medicines are cheaper than patented medicines. Take this opportunity to see if your medicines are generic.
Next time we will explain the proper use of medicine.


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