Follow the directions on the package insert, find out about the criteria for correct storage and, above all, know how to identify the small complaints for which it is possible to use medicines without the need to go through a medical consultation. And, of course, it is very important to choose only over-the-counter medicines (MIPs) registered by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). Following these precepts and a good dose of common sense are starting points for the rational use of MIPs.
“Prescription drugs are those that have a red or black stripe and that require a prescription to be marketed. These require the supervision of a health professional, due to the dosage, duration and orientation of treatment, among other particularities. If used without the correct indication, they can bring health risks”, explains Marli Sileci, executive vice president of the Brazilian Association of the Industry of Products for Self-Care in Health (ACESSA).
“On the other hand, over-the-counter medications, MIPs, do not display this stripe that indicates sales restriction, that is, they do not need a prescription to be purchased. To be classified in this category, it is necessary for Anvisa to evaluate and prove a series of characteristics, such as accumulated experience in marketing in Brazil and abroad, well-established safety, indication for mild and easily recognizable symptoms, among others”, differentiates Marli.
In other words, PIMs are those medications present in practically all Brazilian homes for eventualities that may cause discomfort, discomfort and affect the performance of people’s daily activities. They serve to relieve minor problems such as headache, fever and poor digestion. “MIPs are an essential part of health systems because they allow individuals to make use of treatments with proven safety, quality and efficacy, to treat symptoms and minor ailments already diagnosed or known”, adds the VP of ACESA.
Guidelines such as these are part of a responsible path towards the use of MIPs, one of the seven pillars of the concept of self-care established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“In a context of frequent pressure and deficit of resources in the Brazilian health system, the availability of over-the-counter medicines reduces the need for citizens to go to a health service to treat an already known symptom of a non-serious disease”, justifies Marli Sileci. “This does not mean that MIPs can be used indiscriminately, on the contrary, it is necessary for the consumer to follow the package insert and labeling instructions and, in case of doubts or if the symptoms persist, seek the guidance of a health professional” , ponders.
According to the executive, one of ACESA’s main pillars concerns consumer education regarding the correct and safe use of MIPs, which is still surrounded by myths. “It is common to see publications that relate the numbers of intoxications, the use of MIPs (self-medication) and use of prescription drugs on their own (self-prescription)without any kind of differentiation”, he laments.
The pharmacist’s role
According to the WHO, on average, people tend to spend less than one hour a year receiving guidance from a health professional against more than 8,700 hours in the same period dedicated to self-care. In this scenario, the role of the pharmacist gains even more relevance. “As a healthcare professional available in all of the more than 80,000 pharmacies in Brazil, he has an advisory role in daily healthcare and is a key figure in guiding the rational use of medicines and products for self-care, helping , in case of doubts, in understanding the information available and supporting the choices”, evaluates Marli Sileci.
Solutions in this sense include, in addition to medicines, diagnostic devices and quality digital products that can be used totally or partially outside health services without the help of professionals in the area. “This is the case with pregnancy tests, condoms and lubricants, self-testing for Covid-19 and self-monitoring of blood pressure and blood glucose”, exemplifies Marli.
Finally, in order not to make mistakes and avoid putting health at risk when using these products on your own, the vice president of ACESA summarizes four fundamental rules:
- use them to relieve everyday symptoms or prevent illness;
- choose only MIPs registered with Anvisa;
- always read the information available on the product, both on the label and on the package insert, to check data on the drug’s indications and contraindications;
- and, if symptoms persist, discontinue use and consult a physician.
(Sources: WHO, What do we mean by self-care? [https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/what-do-we-mean-by-self-care]; WHO, Selfcare interventions for Health, Key Facts, 30/Jun/2022 [https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/self-care-health-interventions] and WHO, The role of pharmacist in self-care and self-medication, 1998; WHO, Selfcare interventions for Health, Key Facts, 30/Jun/2022).
1st Prize for Self-Care in Health ACCESSA
Based on the pillars of self-care, the award was launched on July 24, 2022 and features four categories:
HEALTH COMMUNICATION AND SELF-KNOWLEDGE
It includes two pillars of self-care: health information and self-knowledge and mental health. Is open to solutions to promote the ability of individuals to obtain and understand basic health information, as well as initiatives for mental well-being and self-awareness.
from the pillars physical activity and healthy eatingencompasses research and other initiatives focused on offering options to overcome a sedentary lifestyle and seek a balanced diet as a way of improve the functioning of the body and prevent diseases.
based on pillars awareness of risk attitudes and good hygieneis intended for campaigns and interventions aimed at preventing or reducing behaviors that increase the risk of illness or death and personal or environmental practices that prevent the spread of disease.
RATIONAL USE OF MIPS AND OTHER PRODUCTS
Covers solutions that rely on the pillar rational and responsible use of over-the-counter medicines and other products and services for self careinvolving the safe and effective management of the individual’s health (and any everyday illnesses or minor conditions), where appropriate, using medications, products or services without the need for a prescription from a healthcare professional.
See the complete regulation, learn how to participate and meet the judges on the award website: premioautocuidadoacessa.com.br.
For more information, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the Brazilian Association of the Industry of Products for Self-Care in Health, which aims to broaden the debate on self-care in health with the various audiences that make up this equation. Through the development and involvement of all the protagonists in the chain, our mission is to act in the health system so that people can make decisions regarding self-care in a responsible, conscious and safe way, thus promoting more health and greater freedom of choice. Learn more by visiting our website by clicking here.
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