Medicine has come a long way over the past few decades, offering advances that have saved millions of lives and continue to support longevity and vitality. In many cases, drugs are used to target short-term symptoms, ensuring a faster recovery — accounting for a multi-billion dollar industry.
When you purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medication, you trust that they will help improve the symptoms that are causing you discomfort or pain. Although there are various categories of OTC, including sleeping aids and pain killers, cough medications are used as a crutch in times of need.
Based on past statistics, it’s clear that when a cold or flu surfaces, the large majority of Canadians reach for these medications. Can you relate? Do you often taken cold and flu medications? What if you found out that you were taking a medication that was essentially useless — not only wasting your money, but increasing your risk of experiencing possible adverse effects.
Well, a Canadian company, known for their product Cold-FX, is now facing a lawsuit — essentially facing fraud charges It’s believed that they have been misleading consumers, encouraging individuals to buy their medication under false pretenses. Although people may have wasted their money, there are greater concerns here — especially among seniors.
Cold-FX — Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be
Made from American ginseng, Cold-FX has been marketed as a natural health product and although ginseng has been used throughout traditional medicine, Cold-FX has not been entirely truthful. The company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, is now facing charges for selling a product that essentially lacked evidence to back up the advertised claims.
As advertised, Cold-FX is supposed to, “offer immediate results — helping combat cold and flu symptoms after three days of usage.” The only problem is, the research has stated otherwise. It’s been reported that American ginseng was effective when taken daily for two to six months, which is a far cry from almost ‘immediate’ relief.
Within one study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, this medication wasn’t superior in comparison to a placebo. The company is facing charges, with the concern that they ignored scientific evidence, making claims about their product that was simply false.
Not only is Valeant and affiliated companies being reviewed, but Health Canada is also being highlighted in this case. The leading litigator who filed this case, has mentioned in an interview with Maclean’s magazine that Heath Canada has known of adverse effects in the past and are not as efficient as they could be.
They want to bring light to this situation, in the hopes that natural health products and medications as a whole, will be reviewed and managed effectively. Based on Valeant’s approximate earnings, it’s believed that the estimated costs in terms of refunding consumers, would be around $500 million. At this point in time, no charges have been made and nothing has been verified in court.
Why Seniors Need to Be Careful When Taking OTC Drugs
This recent court case affects Canadians of all ages, however, some age groups are automatically at a greater risk in terms of potential complications. Although children are most certainly sensitive to drugs and their effects, I would like to highlight some of the dangers associated with seniors and OTC drugs.
When feeling ill, it’s easy to reach for a quick fix, yet in some circumstances, this could do more harm than good. Of course, each case is unique and if you’re that concerned about your symptoms or the condition of your loved one, don’t hesitate to seek the attention of your healthcare professional.
It’s important that seniors are aware of the risks and this story is the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the potential dangers. The use of OTC medications has steadily increased and many are unaware of proper dosing, interactions, and potential adverse effects.
Studies within the United States have shown that individuals above the age of 65 are the largest users of prescriptions and OTC medications — accounting for approximately 40 percent of all non-prescribed medication use. This is concerning, as elderly individuals are between two to seven times more likely to suffer from a negative reaction.
Speak with your doctor about alternative remedies, as well as effective preventive measures. Since colds and flus can be caused by one of 200+ viruses, nothing is more beneficial than a prevention plan. Practice good hygiene and focus on maintaining a strong immune system.
Here are some great natural remedies for when problematic symptoms begin to surface. Please remember, if there are signs of an infection or symptoms worsen, it’s important to seek medical attention — especially if you suffer from a chronic condition that places your immediate health at risk.
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