HEALTH

Sleep-pain formulas provide relief

BY Richard Monks

For many people, sleep does not always come easily. Pain and a host of other problems can often make it difficult — if not impossible — to fall asleep. Temporary sleeping problems, in turn, can cause a tired mind and lead to headaches and body pains that make it even harder to get a good night’s sleep.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 70 million people suffer from a chronic sleep disorder or intermittent sleep problems. Researchers say that a majority of this sleeplessness is the result of headaches, backaches, muscle aches, minor arthritis pain or menstrual cramps.

Sleeplessness and its resulting aches and pains have helped drive sales of nighttime pain relievers that provide short-term relief of the headaches and minor aches and pains that can accompany the inability to fall asleep.

According to IRI data for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 9, four analgesics brands designed to provide nighttime relief rank among the top 20 in the category. Together, the quartet of products — Pfizer’s Advil PM, Bayer Healthcare’s Aleve PM and McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s Tylenol PM and Motrin PM — accounted for $180.4 million, or 5.5%, of the analgesics tablets’ $3.3 billion in sales during the period.

In addition, Bayer has offered Midol PM in the feminine pain reliever category for almost a decade. Bayer said the product is formulated with a maximum-strength pain reliever and a non-habit forming sleep aid to provide relief from occasional sleeplessness associated with menstrual cramps, backache, muscle aches and headache.

While the sales of nighttime analgesics are only about a quarter of the sales of OTC sleep aids, the suppliers of these products said these dual-purpose formulas represent an important niche in the pain relief market.

“For consumers who suffer pain-related sleeplessness, Advil PM combines the No. 1 pain reliever with a soothing sleep aid,” she said. “[It] provides a healing night’s rest by helping you fall asleep fast, stay asleep longer and it’s non-habit forming.”

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HEALTH

Consumers intrigued by new ReliefChews

BY Richard Monks

WHIPPANY, N.J. — Bayer Healthcare has seen tremendous consumer interest since launching its Alka-Seltzer Heartburn ReliefChews two years ago. IRI data showed that for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 9, sales of the chewable antacid tablets has skyrocketed 520.4% to $16.4 million.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

While Alka-Seltzer Heartburn ReliefChews still ranks relatively low on the list of top-selling antacid tablets, the gains made over the last year make the products the category’s fastest-growing brand.

Marketers said ReliefChews — available in assorted-fruit flavor and the recently added cool mint flavor — are soft textured, and do not have a chalky and gritty consistency. In addition, they stressed that ReliefChews provide instant relief of heartburn, neutralizing acid on contact.

In addition to the antacid tablets, Bayer also offers Alka-Seltzer Heartburn + Gas Relief-Chews, providing the added benefit of helping to alleviate such gastrointestinal problems as bloating and pressure.

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Category evolves from relief into prevention

BY Richard Monks

With an estimated 60 million people in the United States experiencing heartburn at least once a month, and more than 15 million suffering from it daily, products to treat the condition have become more sophisticated, and the battle for supremacy in the $2.18 billion-a-year antacid tablets market has grown more heated.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

According to recent IRI data, Pfizer’s Nexium 24HR, which went from prescription to over-the-counter status in May 2014, has surpassed longtime market leader Procter & Gamble’s Prilosec OTC as the top-selling antacid tablet. Together, the two products account for more than a quarter of the category’s sales.

Suppliers noted that as the science behind antacids continues to evolve and more options become available, the market will flourish.

“Consumers like the ability to try which product works best for them,” a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble said. “We expect this category will continue to be a robust and competitive market.”

Nexium 24HR and Prilosec OTC — both nonprescription versions of medications that got their start behind the pharmacy counter — signify the changing nature of the antacids category. Classified as protein-pump inhibitors, Nexium and Prilosec are preventive medicines, unlike antacid formulas that anchored the category for decades that provided relief after the fact.

Marketers said both fit perfectly with consumers’ desire to take more control over their own health.

“This shift in the way consumers are choosing to manage their health has certainly played a role in the receptiveness of Rx-to-OTC switches,” a Pfizer spokeswoman said. “OTC medicines are an important way to meet consumers’ demands and engage them in their own health care. This is especially important given the evidence shows consumers who are more actively engaged in their health experience better outcomes and lower costs.”

Suppliers say that while the newest stomach relief products help patients take more control over their health care, it remains crucial that people continue to consult with physicians and pharmacists to ensure they are not putting their well-being at risk.

“People should always consult their healthcare provider before taking a new medicine,” the Pfizer spokeswoman stressed. “Even with OTC products.”

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