Survey identifies most non-prescription drugs and dietary supplements


  • 60 Million consumers recommend only 10% of non-prescription drugs.
  • Regarding food supplements, 55% are absolutely to be avoided.

The magazine 60 Millions de consommateurs has investigated products that are among the most popular among the French: non-prescription drugs and food supplements. Products that “benefit from an image of efficacy and harmlessness”, Notes the association in the magazine published Thursday, October 15. After studying 132 products, including 60 drugs and 72 food supplements frequently used to help relieve everyday ailments, she published results which show that far from providing the expected benefits, these products would be dangerous for consumers.

10% of recommended non-prescription drugs

The choice of drugs and food supplements studied was not made at random. The magazine aimed at those who are most used during the winter period to treat everyday problems: colds, lowered immune defenses, sore throat, anxiety or sleep disorders, stomach aches or even fever and pain. “Our methodology pointed to the presence of dangerous substances, the risk of side effects, interactions, excessive dosages, false claims, the absence of any mention or logo indicating risks, the lack of clarity of the instructions”, The magazine says straight away.

Most over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements would present “an unfavorable benefit-risk balance”And“cause serious and even fatal problems”. In total, 60 Million consumers recommend only 10% of non-prescription drugs. “A finding linked to the too frequent presence of substances with formidable side effects, even on healthy people”, She explains.

55% of food supplements absolutely to be avoided

Among the main risks associated with these products, the magazine puts forward cardiovascular problems, liver damage and the effects of additives possibly carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting. Pseudoephedrine, used against the common cold, for example causes cardiovascular problems. “Oxomemazine used to relieve cough could cause seizures or risk of drowsiness”, She adds. Paracetamol is also criticized, especially when it is taken in excess or with alcohol, because it is harmful to the liver. “The overdose of paracetamol is also the leading cause of drug-induced liver transplant in France.”, Notes the association. Among the additives, the study points in particular to the antioxidant E320, E218 and E110 as being able, respectively, to be classified as carcinogenic, endocrine disruptor and cause allergic reactions.

Regarding food supplements, 55% would be absolutely prohibited according to the magazine. For the rest, 25% “can be used for lack of anything better”And 20% are“advised”. In question, “many seemingly ‘harmless’ substances can cause undesirable effects without having demonstrated their effectiveness. ” Experts take the example of melatonin, present in more than half of the food supplements studied, which “may interfere with the circadian rhythm or cause nausea, dizziness and sometimes seizures”.

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