english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2010 > Self-medication: no to product ranges with misleading names

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Self-medication: no to product ranges with misleading names

"Umbrella" brands include several medicinal products with different compositions and for different indications under the same brand name. A commercial practice that can result in patient medication error.

The reappearance of the Codotussyl° and the extension of the Humex° umbrella brands are a matter of concern.

After being withdrawn from the market, the Codotussyl° range has reappeared and is freely available in high-street pharmacies. It includes 7 medicines of different compositions, some of them containing products that can cause adverse effects.

These ranges are presented in similar-style packaging (company colours, graphics), with the emphasis on the brand name. Codotussyl° dry cough for adults, which has no safety cap, carries the risk of a pholcodine overdose in children (pholcodine is a morphine derivative).

The market continues to be flooded with self-medication drugs whose clinical efficacy is low or even zero, but which can cause adverse effects. The packaging is designed primarily to boost sales and not to promote safe use of the products.

©Prescrire April 2010

Source: "Codotussyl° Gamme "ombrelle" sans intérêt clinique et non adapté au bon usage du médicament" Rev Prescrire 2010; 30 (317): 177.
"Codotussyl° Gamme "ombrelle" élargie, ça suffit !" Rev Prescrire 2010; 30 (317): 177.
"Humex 5 % adulte expectorant sans sucre° Encore un peu plus de pagaille !" Rev Prescrire 2010; 30 (317): 177.