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#1
Old 03-09-2009, 05:22 PM
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Over the counter preparations available in Canada but not elsewhere

In recent travels, I've discovered two things that are OTC here in Canada, but one isn't available in the UK and the other isn't available in the US. I was surprised by both.

The first is an antibiotic cream, like Polysporin, which is available here for common cuts and scratches. We put it on the abrasion, then put the bandage on, to prevent infection. When Mrs Piper and I were travelling in the UK, we tried to get some and the pharmacist told us that we needed a prescription for anything antibiotic.

The other is Robaxacet, a med for backache. It's got acetiminophen as a painkiller, and a muscle relaxant. When I tried to get some at a pharmacy in the US, the pharmacist said that she recognized the name as a Canadian drug, but that it wasn't available in the US.

I can guess that it's the muscle relaxant that may be the issue with the Robaxact? but why would an antibiotic ointment not be available OTC?
#2
Old 03-09-2009, 05:55 PM
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Heck, we can get Robaxacet w/ codeine over the counter. Though they do run your health card, I presume to check if you are a...err....regular user of the stuff. The things are absolutely wonderful for nuking tension headaches.
#3
Old 03-09-2009, 09:53 PM
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Robaxacet isn't OTC in the States? I'm surprised. Given their annoying commercials, I figured it'd be all over the place there.

The antibiotic cream surprises me. What's its name? But earlier I read one of Qadgop's replies about some innocuous medication or other that gets metabolized into Something Dangerous, so I wonder whether that's why?

I believe Tylenol 3 with codeine requires a prescription in the States.
#4
Old 03-09-2009, 10:03 PM
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Anything with codeine requires a prescription in the US. It's a Schedule II Controlled Substance, with many of the other opiates.

ETA: Oh, but Tylenol 3 has so little codeine that it is only Schedule III.

A Google search seems to give conflicting evidence about Robaxacet's OTC status. At best, I would WAG that it is OTC in the US, just not common. Looking up Robaxacet gives the website for the Canadian company Wyeth Consumer Healthcare. AFAICT from their site, they only market within Canada.

For all I know, methocarbamol is available in the US in some form, maybe even OTC, just not under that brand name.

Last edited by seodoa; 03-09-2009 at 10:06 PM.
#5
Old 03-09-2009, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
I believe Tylenol 3 with codeine requires a prescription in the States.
Yes, it does. I was at a convention many years ago and developed a killer headache. In my search for relief I happened to ask a friend from Canada if she had any aspirin, and she gave me a couple of Tylenol 3. It did wonders for my headache and I was extremely disappointed to find out that I wasn't going to be able to pick it up at the local drugstore.
#6
Old 03-09-2009, 10:45 PM
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I'm pretty sure you can get a codeine cough syrup in the US without a prescription. You have to get it from the pharmacist and show your drivers license.
#7
Old 03-09-2009, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Qwisp View Post
I'm pretty sure you can get a codeine cough syrup in the US without a prescription. You have to get it from the pharmacist and show your drivers license.
From what I gather from Wikipedia, if it is in a cough syrup formula with at least two other active ingredients, it can be classified as Schedule V, which means that it will be available without a prescription in only some states.

Schedule V basically means that it is a restricted drug, but exactly how it is restricted is the perogative of state and local jurisdictions. Some states allow Schedule V drugs to be sold without a prescription, others don't.
#8
Old 03-09-2009, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seodoa View Post
For all I know, methocarbamol is available in the US in some form, maybe even OTC, just not under that brand name.
Robaxin (methocarbamol) is AFAIK Rx only in the US. Robaxicet isn't something I've heard of being available at all in the US.

I've never seen Robaxin (or any other muscle relaxant) or the generic anywhere but among the bottles on the shelf back in my pharmacy and I'd never even heard of Robaxicet anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwisp View Post
I'm pretty sure you can get a codeine cough syrup in the US without a prescription. You have to get it from the pharmacist and show your drivers license.
Not in Florida. I know you can in Georgia, but I'm not sure where else.

Last edited by Bambi Hassenpfeffer; 03-09-2009 at 11:06 PM.
#9
Old 03-09-2009, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seodoa View Post
From what I gather from Wikipedia, if it is in a cough syrup formula with at least two other active ingredients, it can be classified as Schedule V, which means that it will be available without a prescription in only some states.
Slight nitpick, it doesn't have to be with two other ingredients, only one.

In my state (Georgia) you can buy a 4oz (118mL) bottle of Robitussin AC (10mg Codiene/ 100mg Guaifenesin per 5mL) every 48 hours. It requires signing a controlled drug exception form and a showing of your ID (which is recorded on the form). You have to do about as much as when buying psuedoephedrine.

There is one main problem with getting this, getting a pharmacist who would order the 4oz bottle (at least my pharmacy doesn't normally have it) and who would sell it to someone off the street. I have yet to meet a pharmacist who would sell it to someone they didn't know, you have to be a friend or family, or a really good patient... Or someone who works there.
#10
Old 03-10-2009, 12:30 AM
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Robax is wonderful, wonderful stuff, and cuts my hubby's backaches when he throws his back out like nothing else.
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#11
Old 03-10-2009, 01:51 AM
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Using antibiotics too frequently increases your resistance to them. Cite. That's the current reason why they're a prescription drug in the UK.

They were restricted in the 70's however because of misuse. Using them as growth promoters for animals.

I wouldn't use antibiotic cream for simple cuts and scratches, as in the first point, your body builds up immunity to it. Your body is fully capable of healing itself, if you simply clean the wound normally, there is very little risk of infection.
#12
Old 03-10-2009, 02:09 AM
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There are a lot of antibiotic gels in the US OTC. Neosporin is probably the most popular, but most drugstores and department stores sell their own brands of "triple antibiotic ointment."
#13
Old 03-10-2009, 02:21 AM
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I was also surprised to find Robax isn't available OTC in the States. I live in a border town and I went over to buy some pain meds for my back (turned out to be a gallstone, so the Robax didn't really help), figuring it would be cheaper, but was informed I needed a prescription.

I know you can get Tylenol with codeine OTC here, but it's not the same thing as Tylenol 3 (way less codeine). When I had my wisdom teeth out, they wrote me a prescription for Tylenol 3.
#14
Old 03-10-2009, 08:15 AM
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Is nimesulide available in Canada, OTC? It's one of my favorite pain relievers, but it's not available in the USA, with or without a prescription. (Yeah, there are contraindications and such; I use them so very infrequently that I'm not worried about my liver).
#15
Old 03-10-2009, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
Is nimesulide available in Canada, OTC? It's one of my favorite pain relievers, but it's not available in the USA, with or without a prescription. (Yeah, there are contraindications and such; I use them so very infrequently that I'm not worried about my liver).
From this letter to the editor of a medical journal, it appears it's not available at all:
Quote:
[T]he registration of nimesulide was never requested in the US and Canada. In Australia and New Zealand, the marketing authorisation was submitted in 1999 and 2000, respectively, but [due to the length of the review process] the registration application was voluntarily withdrawn by the company.

Last edited by MikeS; 03-10-2009 at 09:59 AM.
#16
Old 03-10-2009, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LurkMeister View Post
Yes, it does. I was at a convention many years ago and developed a killer headache. In my search for relief I happened to ask a friend from Canada if she had any aspirin, and she gave me a couple of Tylenol 3. It did wonders for my headache and I was extremely disappointed to find out that I wasn't going to be able to pick it up at the local drugstore.
Tylenol 3's are prescription in Canada, but you can get Tylenol with Codeine without a prescription; it just doesn't have as much Codeine as T3s. If my memory serves me correctly, the OTC stuff has 8 mg Codeine per tablet. In Alberta (and probably other provinces; I don't know the rules everywhere) you have to ask the pharmacist for it and either be on file with them or show id so that they can put you on file.
#17
Old 03-10-2009, 12:29 PM
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This was about thirty years ago so I may be misremembering exactly what it was called, or thought Tylenol 3 was the standard name for Tylenol with codeine. I know it wasn't in a prescription bottle, though.
#18
Old 03-10-2009, 02:17 PM
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What's the difference between antibiotic cream and antiseptic cream anyway?

As I said in the IMHO trhead where you mentioned this, the sort of cream you would put on cuts and scrapes, e.g. Savlon or Germolene, is widely available in the UK without any form of prescription. But we don't call it "antibiotic cream".

Is it possible you and the pharmacist were talking at cross purposes? You do need a prescription for oral antibiotics, yes, but not antiseptic cream.
#19
Old 03-10-2009, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
What's the difference between antibiotic cream and antiseptic cream anyway?

As I said in the IMHO trhead where you mentioned this, the sort of cream you would put on cuts and scrapes, e.g. Savlon or Germolene, is widely available in the UK without any form of prescription. But we don't call it "antibiotic cream".

Is it possible you and the pharmacist were talking at cross purposes? You do need a prescription for oral antibiotics, yes, but not antiseptic cream.
Wiki link on antiseptics. It looks like "antibiotic cream" is kind of a misnomer going by those definitions as antibiotics are supposed to kill bacteria inside of the body and antiseptics on the outside. Anyway, common antiseptics include alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and iodine. In the US, we'd probably call it "antibiotic cream" if we meant something like Neosporin but I think "antiseptic cream" would probably be understood too.
#20
Old 03-10-2009, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
What's the difference between antibiotic cream and antiseptic cream anyway?

As I said in the IMHO trhead where you mentioned this, the sort of cream you would put on cuts and scrapes, e.g. Savlon or Germolene, is widely available in the UK without any form of prescription. But we don't call it "antibiotic cream".

Is it possible you and the pharmacist were talking at cross purposes? You do need a prescription for oral antibiotics, yes, but not antiseptic cream.
We ended up using Savlon*, but the link to Neosporin in Ferret Herder's post shows the difference. The cream we normally use here is Polysporin, mentioned in the linked page. Neosporin and Polysporin both contain antibiotics for topical use, not oral use.

The pharmacist seemed to be familiar with antibiotic creams for scrapes and abrasions, but indicated we would need a prescription for them in the UK.



* For one day. Then all Savlon in the UK was recalled because an animal rights group issued a press release saying they had contaminated Savlon because the manufacturer used animal testing. Out went our nice tubes of Savlon.
#21
Old 03-10-2009, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post

* For one day. Then all Savlon in the UK was recalled because an animal rights group issued a press release saying they had contaminated Savlon because the manufacturer used animal testing. Out went our nice tubes of Savlon.
I never heard about that one. But I think our tube of Savlon dates back to the days before there was such a thing as animal rights (or even animal testing, probably!)
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