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‘We are committed to effective treatment of pain in Nigeria’



Mr. Silivrili Oguzhan

Mr. Silivrili Oguzhan is the Marketing Director, Reckitt Benckiser (RB) West Africa. Oguzhan in a chat with journalist said the company is committed to effective treatment of pain and fever in Nigeria with the recent launch of Nurofen. He said pain in children and adult can be adequately managed with Ibuprofen, which is the active agent of Nurofen. According to Wikipedia, Ibuprofen is used primarily for fever (including post-immunisation fever), mild-to-moderate pain (including pain relief after surgery), painful menstruation, osteoarthritis, dental pain, headaches and pain from kidney stones. It is used for inflammatory diseases such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. PAUL ADUNWOKE was there. Excerpts: 

What brought about the introduction of Nurofen? Nurofen is the innovator brand who founded the molecule of ibuprofen. The discovery of ibuprofen and its launch to the market are the result of careful and systematic research that has characterised the work of Prof. Stuart Adams.

This year, it will be 53 years since the discovery and patenting of ibuprofen. With increased focus on health, RB Nigeria aims to become the leading over-the-counter (OTC) company in Nigeria by launching Nurofen powerbrand, which is the biggest category in the healthcare market in Nigeria in July 2015. Reason being that Nigerians experience pain, at least once every month.

Nigerians say headache is the second most common ailment occurring in 91 per cent of Nigerians after sore throat and the biggest pain condition. 80,000 children in Nigeria die annually because of fever.

Thus with the launch of Nurofen, we aim to lower the burden of pain and fever among the Nigerian population. How does it provide targeted relief from pain? Nurofen is a targeted relief from pain by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins in the peripheral nervous system. What that means in plain language is that, Nurofen gets to work precisely where you need it to.

It effectively provides significant relief from headache, migraine, backache, dental pain, period pain, musculoskeletal pain, sore throat, cold and flu symptoms and fever, and it is well tolerated on stomach.

Who are the key targets for the painkiller? Nurofen can be taken by anyone who experiences fever or pain. It is available in tablets as well as syrups for children.

Tablets can be taken by anyone above 12 years for the treatment of pain and fever while syrup is meant for children from three months onwards. Is it an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drug? Yes.

Nurofen tablets in 200mg can be taken over-the-counter without a prescription. Same for Nurofen for children (Orange and Strawberry).

The dosage for Nurofen core 200mg for adults, the elderly and children over 12 years is one or two caplets taken with water, up to three times a day as required. Do not exceed six caplets in any 24 hours and leave at least four hours between doses.

Not for use by children under 12 years of age. Do not use for more than 10 days, or if symptoms worsen, consult a doctor. What is the difference between Ibuprofen and Paracetamol? Both are classified as analgesics.

However Nurofen (Ibuprofen) comes under a more advanced type of molecules called NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In addition to working on pain and fever, it also reduces inflammation.

You also have to note that Nurofen is significantly better than paracetamol for the treatment of headache, migraine, backache, dental pain, period pain, musculoskeletal pain, sore throat, cold and flu symptoms, fever and is well tolerated on stomach at OTC dosage.

Ibuprofen will treat your symptoms quickly and effectively. Ibuprofen is more effective than painkillers like aspirin and paracetamol and it has a safety profile that is comparable to that of paracetamol and is better tolerated than aspirin.

If we go into specifics, Nurofen targets pain right at its source by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins in the peripheral nervous system while Paracetamol is thought to inhibit an enzyme that is produced in the central nervous system and involved in the transmission of pain, although the mode of action is not fully understood.

How does this tie to the vision of RB, which is to make Nigerians live healthier and happier? RB’s mission is to provide Nigerians healthier lives and happier homes.

Nurofen is in line with this global vision and it will give unquestionable pain relief to help you and your loved ones live your big lives. Are there plans to bring other variants of Nurofen into the Nigerian market like we have globally? Nurofen is a global leader in child analgesics and in oral analgesics where we have launched.

We have a very vast range which includes tablets, liquid gels, topical, pads etc. We will soon be introducing the entire range relevant for Nigeria after the due diligence with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is followed.

Currently RB brands are the number 1 in Nigeria because we meet up to our global vision of providing Nigerians with products to make them live healthier and happier.

How about the issue of cost? Different pharmacies sell medicines at different prices. However you can expect one dose for as less as N30. Currently it is available in the pharmacist stores near you.

However, be sure to check the back of the pack to ensure it has a NAFDAC registration number. What are your thoughts on the safety profile of ibuprofen? Ibuprofen is as well tolerated as paracetamol, with superior gastro-intestinal (GI) safety versus other NSAIDs.

Even during the early development of ibuprofen, doctors took the view that tolerability was more important than potency, and this principle has served ibuprofen well.

Ibuprofen has a wide toxicological ‘buffer’, which means it can be taken in larger than recommended quantities without any serious adverse effects and, importantly, without the irreversible liver effects seen with drugs such as paracetamol and diclofenac.

From quite inauspicious beginnings, ibuprofen has become an internationally known and used drug, and Nurofen has become a well-recognised brand associated with drug quality.

It is my opinion that ibuprofen has taken a pretty remarkable chemical and made it amenable to a wide range of oral and systemic formulations.

For this reason, I believe the future will see refinements in formulation, dose and applications, including development of fast-acting and extended-release formulations, preparations, enhanced efficacy products, and formulations that are easier to take.

Also according to a recent study by British Medical Journal released in February 2015, Paracetamol is ineffective in the treatment of low back pain and provides minimal short-term benefits for people with osteoarthritis.

Medical research According to Wikipedia, Ibuprofen is sometimes used for the treatment of acne, because of its anti-inflammatory properties and has been sold in Japan in topical form for adult acne.

As with other NSAIDs, ibuprofen may be useful in the treatment of severe orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up).

In some studies, ibuprofen showed superior results compared to a placebo in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, when given in low doses over a long time. Ibuprofen has been associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, and may delay or prevent it.

Aspirin, other NSAIDs, and paracetamol (acetaminophen) had no effect on the risk for Parkinson’s. In March 2011, researchers at Harvard Medical School announced in Neurology that ibuprofen had a neuroprotective effect against the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

People regularly consuming ibuprofen were reported to have a 38 per cent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, but no such effect was found for other pain relievers, such as aspirin and paracetamol.

Use of ibuprofen to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease in the general population would not be problem-free, given the possibility of adverse effects on the urinary and digestive systems.

Long-term NSAID use may reduce CRC risk Long-term, continuous use of low-dose aspirin and NSAIDs is associated with decreased colorectal cancer risk. The findings of a population-based, case-control study are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common non-skin cancer in the world. Colorectal neoplasms have a long progression, making colorectal cancer an obvious target for preventive interventions.

Studies have suggested that regular aspirin and other NSAID use can reduce colorectal cancer risk, but a recent comprehensive review concluded that more research is needed to determine the optimal use of aspirin for cancer prevention.

Researchers reviewed data on drug use, comorbid conditions, and history of colonoscopy from prescription and patient registries in Northern Denmark.

Based on prescriptions filled, taking 75 to 150 mg of aspirin continuously for five years or longer was associated with a 27 percent reduced risk for colorectal cancer and five or more years of continuous nonaspirin NSAID use was associated with a 30 to 45 percent reduction in colorectal cancer risk.

Nonaspirin NDAIDS with the highest COX-2 selectivity were associated with the largest risk reductions. The authors caution that patients with the highest adherence comprised only about two to two percent of all low-dose aspirin users in the study population, and these persons may have a risk profile for colorectal cancer that differs from that of the general population. In addition, other lifestyle factors were not measured.

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