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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

10 Medicines You Won’t Get Over the Counter Outside India

A number of drugs that are prohibited in other countries like the United States and United Kingdom, are still widely and openly available in India.

These medicines that are most often restricted are controlled substances, such as opiates, stimulants, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.

Even medications such as asthma inhalers and insulin are restricted in a lot of countries.

1. Pseudoephedrine

Common cold treatments like Sudafed and Vicks that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine are banned in most countries like Japan.

So, if you plan on traveling to Japan and you have a cold, it would be better to leave the over-the-counter medications at home.

2. Codeine, Tramadol

Specific painkillers such as codeine and tramadol are banned in most countries throughout the world. These are controlled drugs and require a prescription to purchase and consume.

In some countries like Greece, Saudi Arabia carrying these medications while travelling could result in arrest.

3. Diphenhydramine

Diphenhydramine is an active component in the allergy drug Benadryl. In Japan, a person is only limited to ten-milligram capsules.

If you’re traveling to Zambia and are used to taking these pills for allergies or to aid in sleep on the plane, consult a doctor for alternatives.

4. Methylphenidate


             Caption: Chemical formula of methylphenidate drug.

Alt tags: Methylphenidate

Japan cannot be a part of your travel list if you take medications for attention deficit disorder.

Japan has a zero-tolerance policy for methamphetamines and amphetamines which is an active component in many such drugs.

This is the case in Saudi Arabia also. Even people with prescriptions for these medicines are not permitted to carry it with them to these countries.

5. Zolpidem

In Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, sleeping drugs that have zolpidem are banned.

These drugs are usually used by people who are adjusting to the new country’s time zone.

For someone who is travelling to Singapore, it is necessary to obtain a license to legally carry in Ambien.

6. Phenolphthalein

For the treatment of constipation, Phenolphthalein, a medicine belonging to a group of drugs called stimulant purgative, is used.

It has been indicated from research work done on mice, that its use may be associated with cancer or genetic damage.

Because of this, it is banned across the globe except for in India.

7. Furazolidone


                    Caption: Photo of Furazolidone substance used to cure diarrhea

       Alt tags: Furazolidone

Furazolidone is commonly used for treating diarrhoea caused by bacteria.

Not always, but sometimes, Metronidazole is taken along with Furazolidone for faster recovery.

Studies indicate that its use has a possibility of causing cancer, and thus it is not used in most countries.

In India, this drug is easily available, to be taken individually or in any combination.

8. Nimesulide

This drug was never introduced in the US since it was known to cause liver cancer.

Nimesulide is a painkiller with no opioid.

In India, children below 12 years of age are banned from using this medicine, though it can be used in adults.

9. Oxyphenbutazone

Oxyphenbutazone is also a non-opioid painkiller.

Many countries have banned this drug since it is known to cause depression in the bone marrow and reduce the number of blood cells in the body, amongst other side effects.

It is banned in India if taken with any other drug as a combination though it is available as a single drug.

10. Thioridazine

This is an antipsychotic drug used to treat various psychotic conditions.

It is known to have many side effects like abnormal heartbeat, eye damage, and a condition where the patient suffers from high temperature and rigidity of muscles.

It continues to be available in India.

Though still available in India, before consuming such medicines, people must do research about the possible side effects.

Also, concerned authorities must take precautionary steps to prevent open sale of such medicines that can be harmful in the long run.

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