Translator: Yu-Han Kao
Source: 2nd,Jan to 8th, Jan,Vol. 1753,The Pharmacist’s Weekly
Original Link: The concept of taking gastrointestinal medicines
The so-called gastrointestinal medicine refers to the role of drugs acted on the gastrointestinal tract, including antacids and digestive agent which its functions are for the inhibition of gastric acid secretion and gastric mucosal protection. According to statistic results, Westerners and Asians in the habit of taking gastrointestinal drugs are very different. For example, most Westerners in case of stomach upset will take digestive agent to be eased; Asians (e.g., Japan) often take antacids or digestive tract analgesics to treat their illness. Taiwanese and Japanese lifestyles are quite similar, and thus develop a misconception that thinking most drugs are harmful to stomach and must co-administrate gastrointestinal medicines to protect their stomach.
The writer had talked with the medical industry about the situations when doctor prescribes that the most complaints and demands from patients are: “Doctor, my stomach is not good, and please be sure to help me add gastrointestinal medicines in my prescription” The last two years, when the community pharmacy vigorously promoted the “abandoned or expired medicines recycling”, they were surprised to find that there were high percentage of stomach milk tablets in the mountains of obsolete or expired drugs. This is not only a waste of medical resources, but also a more serious warning: it is not allowable to take gastrointestinal medicines ad lib.
The experts pointed out that: In fact, the patient complained about upset stomach because of pH value and gastrointestinal environmental changes caused by at will taking gastrointestinal medicines, and taking more stomach drugs, the more getting hurt. Moreover, most drugs themselves will not harm the stomach, and it is unnecessary to take gastrointestinal medicines for protection. If you feel a little discomfort in the process of taking drugs, that is local irritation on the stomach caused by drugs and antacids can only slow down the stomach discomfort, but cannot prevent drug-induced gastrointestinal ulcers. In some cases, antacid itself will affect the absorption and efficacy of certain drugs.
Commonly in media advertising, those companies promote their drugs of,” xx stomach strengthening powder “,” xx gel “, and claim that it can neutralize the stomach acid and relieve symptoms about hyperacidity, so these drugs are widely trusted by the public, and have a huge sales in Taiwan market. It is not because these drugs are bad or not applicable, but pharmacists should take the initiative to consumers and warn them about what impacts on body health will be caused if to take these OTCs carelessly. If there is a need, patients should follow the physician’s and pharmacist’s instructions to take medicines in order to avoid a waste of money and even any damage on body health!