A Scientific Statement, published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal, has suggested that the risk of heart failure is increased by the combination of multiple prescriptions, the involvement of multiple healthcare specialists, drug-drug interaction and, amongst other things, excessive use of OTC medicines. The Statement underlines the need for patients at risk of heart failure to inform healthcare professionals of all medical products they are taking so the potential effect of combinations of medicines and drugs can be considered.
John Smith, PAGB Chief Executive, said:
“The conclusions in the Scientific Statement in regard to the impact of OTC medicines on people at risk of heart failure are based clearly on people who take regularly take doses which exceed the level recommended and for durations in excess of the period recommended on the packaging. Many OTC medicines, such as ibuprofen, are only intended for short-term relief of symptoms and are not recommended for continuous use, as the Statement acknowledges.
“It is even more important for people with heart failure or other long term conditions to understand the potential risks associated with excessive consumption of medicines. It is vital for these people to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging and seek advice from their healthcare professional team before taking any OTC medications.
“Safety is of paramount importance to the OTC medicines industry. All OTC medicines in the UK are rigorously assessed for safety and efficacy before they are given a licence by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and once on the market, their safety is continually monitored in light of any emerging evidence.
“OTC medicines manufacturers provide comprehensive accessible information to support people to make responsible informed decisions, in discussion with their pharmacist, about which OTC product is right for them.
“If anyone has any concerns about an existing health condition, we would recommend they always speak to a pharmacist before taking any medicine to check for any potential drug interactions or health concerns.”