Article/ Reporter from Chiayi County Lin Qitai
Origin : The Pharmacist Weekly
Translator: Yun- Ting Wang (Alice Wang)
The drugs acting on gastrointestinal are so called gastrointestinal medicines, including antacids and prokinetic agents, which inhibit the secretion of gastric acids and protect gastric mucosal. According to the statistical data, there are great differences between Westerners and Orientals. Westerners usually take prokinetic agents to relief the stomach upset ; Orientals (such as Japanese) is prone to taking antacids or gastrointestinal analgesics for treatments. The living style between Taiwanese and Japanese is quite similar. Therefore, Taiwanese and Japanese both have a wrong concept that all medicines are harmful to the stomach and it is necessary to take gastrointestinal medicines to protect the stomach.
I had a chance to talk about this issue with doctors. They said the most common situation is the patients complaining upset stomach and asking physicians to prescribe the gastrointestinal medicines for them. The last couple of years, the community pharmacy pushing ” recovery of abandoned or expired drugs ” found that the gastrointestinal medicines account for a scary proportion. This is not only a waste of medical resource but also a serious warning that taking gastrointestinal medicines at will is a bad habit which should be avoided.
In fact, the experts pointed out that the reason why patients complaint the stomach upset is because the bad custom about taking antacids frequently and cause the change of the environment and pH of stomach, it proofs that taking more gastrointestinal medicines getting more hurts. Moreover, most of the drug itself does not cause damage to the stomach, there was no need to take gastrointestinal medicines to protect the stomach. In case of unwell experience, it is just a local irritation, antacids only could alleviate the stomach discomfort, but it could not prevent drug-induced gastrointestinal ulcers. In some cases, antacids will affect absorption and efficacy of certain drugs.
Many advertisement of gastrointestinal medicines announced those drugs could neutralize gastric acid and treat the hypergastric acid symptoms. The masses trust those drugs and it have an extensive market share in Taiwan. Not because the drug is bad or improper, but as pharmacists, we should stand by the side of the public health, warn the consumers initiatively and let them aware of the health effects about taking drugs by themselves at will. If people could follow the instruction of doctors and pharmacists to take the medicines when necessary, they can be away of wasting money and harming health.