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Over‐the‐counter (OTC) medications for acute cough in children and adults in community settings

We undertook a review to determine the effectiveness of over‐the‐counter cough medicines in reducing cough in children and adults in community settings. We found 29 trials involving 4835 people.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Written information about individual medicines for patients

Medicines are the most common intervention in most health services. People taking medicines need good quality information: to enable them to take and use the medicines effectively, to understand the potential harms and benefits, and to allow them to make an informed decision about taking them. Written medicines information is provided in some countries as a leaflet accompanying medicines, and is available via the Internet. Our review examined if written information about individual medicines can improve knowledge or attitudes, or change behaviours relating to taking a medicine.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2011

Oral painkillers available without prescription for acute pain

Acute pain is often felt soon after injury, and is of short duration. Most people who have surgery have moderate or severe pain afterwards. Painkillers (analgesics) are tested in people with pain, often following the removal of wisdom teeth. Study participants have to have at least moderate pain levels and the pain is usually treated with painkillers taken by mouth. This overview is useful mainly for acute pain lasting only a few days or weeks, and not for chronic pain lasting for many months. For this overview we have not included information from reviews on migraine, tension headache, or period pain.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Efficacy of over the counter (OTC) artificial tears for dry eye syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a long‐term condition that is known to cause eye discomfort and visual disturbances like blurred vision. This condition affects millions of people around the world, and the first‐line treatment for dry eye is typically over the counter (OTC) artificial tears. OTC artificial tears are meant to replace or supplement the tears (fluid) that naturally cover the eye’s front surface (cornea and conjunctiva). There are a great number of commercially available artificial tears, yet there is currently no agreement about whether one formulation works better than another at treating dry eye. Our review attempts to bridge this knowledge gap.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Over‐the‐counter medications to help reduce cough for children and adults on antibiotics for acute pneumonia

There are many causes of acute cough, one of which is pneumonia. Cough is burdensome and impairs quality of life. Over‐the‐counter (OTC) medications are commonly purchased and used by patients, and are recommended by healthcare staff as additional medications in the treatment of pneumonia. There are many classes of OTC medications for cough, such as mucolytics (medications that can reduce the thickness of mucus) and antitussives (medications that suppress cough). This review aims to balance the possible benefits of these agents with their potential risks.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Home‐based chemically‐induced whitening of teeth in adults

Tooth whitening products for use at home work over a short period of time but users should be aware of common side effects and note that long‐term data on their use are not yet available.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2008

Multimedia programs for educating patients about medications

Consumers need detailed information about their medications to enable them to use their medications safely and effectively. For information to be useful it needs to be presented in a format that can be easily understood by consumers. There is evidence that methods such as spoken communication between the health provider and consumer and written materials are not meeting consumers’ needs. Multimedia education programs use more than one format to provide information. This could include using written words, diagrams and pictures with the use of audio, animation or video. They can be provided using different technologies, such as DVD and CD‐ROM, or can be accessed over the Internet.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Using medication: The safe use of over-the-counter painkillers

Many painkillers are available from pharmacies without a prescription. They can provide effective pain relief, but might also cause side effects or complications. In order to use them safely, it is important to pay attention to the dose and interactions with other medicinal products.Over-the-counter painkillers available from pharmacies, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (paracetamol), can relieve acute pain. Their effectiveness will depend on things like the type and severity of the pain and the dose of the medication. Painkillers that are available without a prescription have been approved for the treatment of mild to moderate pain. They shouldn't be used for more than a few days in a row, and the specified maximum daily dose shouldn't be exceeded.Painkillers can have side effects and – in rare cases – lead to complications. In order to avoid adverse effects, it is important to make sure you use them properly. This is particularly true for people who have certain medical conditions or use painkillers regularly. A medication's package insert contains detailed information about its areas of use, the correct doses and how long you can use it for.  You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist about how to use it properly.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: April 6, 2016

Comparing Talk Therapy and Other Depression Treatments With Antidepressant Medicines: A Review of the Research for Adults

What is depression? What have researchers found about how antidepressants compare with talk therapy (also called counseling) and other depression treatments (exercise programs, acupuncture, and dietary supplements)? What should I ask my health care professional about treating my depression?

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: September 13, 2016

Medicines for Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will tell you about two types of medicine to treat RA: DMARDs and corticosteroids. It will explain what research has found about how well DMARDs work when taken alone or with corticosteroids to treat RA. It will also tell you what research says about the side effects of these medicines. You can use this summary to talk with your doctor about whether one of these medicines may be right for you.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: November 20, 2012

Options for Treating Restless Legs Syndrome: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will cover: What RLS is Treatment options for RLS What researchers have found about RLS treatments

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: August 30, 2013

Noninvasive Treatments for Low Back Pain: A Summary of the Research for Adults

This summary will answer these questions: What is low back pain? How is low back pain treated? » Medicines » Nonmedicine treatments such as heat, exercise, and massage What have researchers found about treatments for low back pain? What are possible side effects of medicines to treat low back pain? What should I discuss with my health care professional about treating my low back pain?

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: November 15, 2016

Treating Chronic Hepatitis C: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will discuss treatment options for chronic hepatitis C. It will tell you about research on how well medicines for chronic hepatitis C work. It will also tell you about research on the side effects of these medicines. It does not discuss screening and diagnosis of hepatitis C. This summary can help you talk with your doctor about which treatment might be best for you.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: November 27, 2012

Medication list

It can be helpful to list all medications you are taking before seeing a doctor. This may also make it easier for you to keep track yourself.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: May 6, 2015

Using medication: Overview

Taking medication sounds easy enough but can be complicated, for example if you have to take a lot of different medications for a long time. What is the best way to keep track of it all? And what is important to know when using  antibiotics? And how can you make sure children get the right dose?

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: December 4, 2013

Relieving menopause symptoms on your own

Women going through menopause often look for ways to relieve their symptoms themselves or manage them better. Some make changes to their diet, do sports, or try out yoga or relaxation techniques. Others turn to herbal products or “alternative” approaches, which often promise more than they can deliver.Treatment isn't always needed to relieve menopause symptoms. Menopause is not an illness. Hot flashes and sweats usually lessen over time even without any treatment, and then go away completely by themselves.Some women simply wait until menopause passes. Others try making adjustments to their lifestyle – for example by changing their diet or getting more exercise – to improve their general wellbeing. This can help them cope better with menopause.Many women try herbal products or other approaches that are often labeled “alternative.” But most of these remedies are often believed to be more effective than they actually are. Others have side effects that are sometimes underestimated.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: August 24, 2016

What are dietary supplements?

“Vitamins strengthen our immune system,” and “Omega 3 is good for your heart”: Dietary supplements are often marketed using a number of different promises, and they are available everywhere, from pharmacies and supermarkets to the internet. But do we really need all of these tablets, powders and capsules? What makes dietary supplements different from medicine and can they also be harmful?

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: September 8, 2016

Flu: Overview

People often use the terms “flu” and “cold” interchangeably. The course of these two types of infections is very different, though. Whereas common colds develop slowly, the flu arises suddenly and is more severe. Read about the symptoms, the flu vaccine and treatment options.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 3, 2016

Depression: Can St. John’s wort products help?

Some St. John’s wort products can relieve mild to moderate depression in the short term. They have not been proven to have the same effect in severe depression, though. Side effects are less common with St. John’s wort products than they are with some other antidepressants. But interactions with other drugs can occur.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: January 12, 2017

Benign enlarged prostate: Overview

Many middle-aged men will know what it is like to have to go to the bathroom a lot at night and still feel like your bladder is never really empty. This problem is usually caused by a benign enlarged prostate. Here we describe the various treatment options for this condition.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: January 15, 2014

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