HEALTH

Patients give OTC heartburn medications positive reviews in new study

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON New research from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and The Nielsen Company indicates 94% patient satisfaction with available over-the-counter heartburn medications and estimates that OTC heartburn therapies save patients an average total of $174 each in office visits and medication costs annually, the two organizations announced Monday.

In addition, CHPA and Nielsen attribute $757 million in annual savings to the U.S. healthcare system based on fewer office visits — all good news for millions of Americans who suffer from heartburn as well as an overburdened healthcare system. 

“This is wonderful news for consumers. This study points to a high level of satisfaction plus costs savings among those who turn to OTC heartburn medicines for symptom relief,” stated Linda Suydam, president, CHPA. “The overall findings reflect the evolution of heartburn treatments as the availability of effective over-the-counter treatment options have expanded over the past 15 years.” 

“The savings these OTC medicines provide to the U.S. healthcare system are equally significant,” stated Jim Mansfield, The Nielsen Company and one of the study’s authors. “Ongoing research into health outcomes and the cost of lost work time and misdiagnosis holds the potential to identify additional — yet substantial — savings.” 

The study, “Benefits of Over-the-Counter Heartburn Medication to Consumers and the Healthcare System,” was conducted in 2008 and is based on online and written survey responses from nearly 10,000 U.S. consumers who use OTC heartburn medication. 

The research was conducted using NielsenHealth’s Upper GI Ailment Panel data related to consumer satisfaction with the full range OTC heartburn remedies, including antacids, H2-blockers and proton pump inhibitors. Researchers used a combination of consumer data compiled by Nielsen and provider data compiled by WoltersKluwer Health’s Dynamic Claims to estimate cost savings. 

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GelStat releases all-natural dietary supplement for sleep health

BY Michael Johnsen

PALM CITY, Fla. In an open letter to investors, GelStat Corporation earlier this week announced the launch of GelStat Sleep, a dietary supplement that contains the three most prominent natural ingredients positioned against improving sleep health.

L-5 Hydroxytryptophan is a natural extract derived from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia tree that works as a natural relaxant; valerian root extract is an herb that may help with grogginess upon waking; and melatonin is a natural occurring hormone that aids in falling asleep more quickly.

According to the company, more than 100 million people are affected by some form of sleeplessness.

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FDA calls for new warnings on anti-inflammatory drug labels

BY Michael Johnsen

BETHESDA, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued a final rule to require important new organ-specific warnings and related labeling for over-the-counter acetaminophen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to be published in the Federal Register Jan. 26.

The new labeling informs consumers about the risk of liver injury when using acetaminophen and the risk of stomach bleeding when using NSAIDs and applies to both medicines marketed under monograph, as well as those approved through a new drug application.

The rule will become effective Jan. 26, 2010, including products with annual sales less than $25,000. 

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