Man sitting on his bed scrolling through Instagram

Social media plays a big part in many people’s everyday lives. According to a 2019 study, there are just under three billion social media users worldwide. You might find yourself constantly refreshing your social media feeds, reacting to friends’ and families’ posts and sharing insights into your own life. Although social media platforms are a great way to keep in touch with loved ones and monitor what’s going on in the world, they also have a different side which isn’t often touched upon.

Platforms like Instagram allow you to follow a host of people, including influencers, fitness enthusiasts and motivational coaches. Although individuals like these can have a positive impact on your lifestyle, they can also cause people – including men – to question their body image, which can have an effect on confidence and self-esteem. A recent study carried out by YouGov found that 31 per cent of men surveyed said they’re not very happy with their body.

Here at Chemist Click, we recently launched a campaign which looks at how the ‘ideal’ male body has changed throughout history and how these notions of perfection can result in men striving to achieve the ‘ideal’ physique. As modern day technology continues to advance, we’re now in an era where social media can play a big part in damaging the confidence of men across the world and how they perceive their body image.

 

The importance of not taking social media too seriously

We all have our own insecurities, whether it relates to how we look, the way we walk or even how we speak. Unfortunately, in some cases, social media can heighten our insecurities, especially if you find yourself following fitness enthusiasts with chiseled torsos and bulging biceps.

No matter what type of person you are, if your social media feed is filled with people who you believe have the ‘ideal’ body, it’s going to start affecting how you view your own body image. It’s important to remember that social media doesn’t represent the true lives of people. In most cases, you’ll only ever see people with a huge smile on their face, often travelling to exotic locations and in the ‘best shape’ of their lives – when in reality, they’ll be facing their own battles as well.

 

How to use social media to your advantage

It’s helpful to make sure you’re only following people that can add value to how you live your life. For example, if you’re looking to get fitter, then identify fitness instructors and personal trainers who share useful workouts, nutritional tips and good advice.

Use these accounts to replace influencers who are causing your self-esteem and confidence to plummet. Whether it’s individuals constantly updating their social media with topless photos in pristine locations across the world, or people with the ‘ideal’ body but who always seem to be eating fast-food, these are the accounts you want to avoid.

It may sound drastic taking these steps, but it will only benefit you and help your confidence grow. We all have our own insecurities, including men, and it’s important to acknowledge them and find a way to make ourselves feel better and enjoy being the individuals we truly are.

Is Fexofenadine available to buy Over The Counter?

A green box of fexofenadine 120mg in the chanel brand with three loose tablets in front

Fexofenadine is an antihistamine used to relieve symptoms of allergy and hay fever. It is available to buy over the counter in certain countries such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and other countries around Europe. However, you cannot buy fexofenadine over the counter in the UK, as it requires a prescription.

What is Fexofenadine?

Fexofenadine is a new generation antihistamine which can relieve symptoms of hay fever and allergy. This includes symptoms such as sneezing, itching, runny nose and itchy and watery eyes. It can also be used to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives lasting longer than 6 weeks). It works by blocking the release of histamine, a natural substance that the body produces in response to allergy. It is a non-drowsy antihistamine and its low side-effect profile means that it is well tolerated amongst users. The dose is one tablet daily, with fexofenadine taking 1 hour to work and lasting for up to 24 hours. It is considered to be one of the stronger antihistamines, as a it has a high success rate.

How can I obtain Fexofenadine?

In the UK, you need to make an appointment with your GP in order for them to issue you with a prescription for fexofenadine. Alternatively, you can buy fexofenadine from an online pharmacy after completing an online consultation. The consultation will be assessed by a doctor or prescribing pharmacist, who will determine whether the product is safe for you to take.

If you are in another country such as America, Australia, Canada, or any of the countries where it is licensed to sell OTC, you can purchase fexofenadine from a pharmacy without a prescription. You should check with the pharmacist to make sure that it is suitable for you to take.

The Verdict

It is unsure why fexofenadine is not available over the counter. Given its increasing popularity and low side-effect profile, it still requires a prescription. Prescribing of fexofenadine in the UK is increasing, with other drugs such as cetirizine, loratadine, desloratadine and levocetirizine showing a decline in prescribing. Annual sales have exceeded $1 billion annually, and in the UK, it is the second most prescribed antihistamine after cetirizine. It is estimated that fexofenadine will overtake cetirizine very soon.

Sumatriptan: Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage & Warnings

A box of sumatriptan 50mg and a box of sumatriptan 100mg torrent pharma brand

What is Sumatriptan and what is it used for?

Sumatriptan is a migraine treatment belonging to a class of drugs known as ‘triptans’, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors. It is also referred to as its brand name, Imigran. Sumatriptan is available as a 50mg and 100mg strength. In the UK, you can buy sumatriptan over the counter in the 50mg strength, but you are limited to two tablets. If you require more than two tablets or the 100mg strength, you require a prescription from a doctor. It is available as a tablet or nasal spray (the faster acting option). This medication is only licensed to treat a migraine once it has started and cannot prevent a migraine.

 

How it works

Sumatriptan tablets work by temporarily narrowing blood vessels in the brain, preventing pain signals from being sent. It also works to inhibit the release of natural chemicals which cause migraine symptoms such as pain and nausea. Sumatriptan will only work to relieve a migraine once it has started and does not work to prevent or reduce the frequency of migraines.

How long does it take to work?

Sumatriptan tablets usually work within 30-60 minutes and the nasal spray and injections usually work within 15 minutes. Whilst these tablets are effective, there is no guarantee that they will work every time. If it is not effective for you, there are alternatives that belong to the same class of drugs that can be effective.

 

Sumatriptan dosage

Sumatriptan is available as a 50mg and 100mg tablet. The recommended starting dose is usually 50mg, and 100mg is used where patients do not experience full relief with 50mg.

How to take Sumatriptan

Take one 50mg or 100mg with a glass of water at the onset of a migraine. You should swallow tablets whole and not crush them, although some tablets that are scored down the middle can be split in those that have trouble swallowing tablets. Some people experience ‘aura’ (visual disturbances, tingling sensation, dizziness, difficulty speaking, loss of consciousness) before a migraine attack. You should not take a tablet if you experience aura without a migraine. If you experience relief with sumatriptan, you can take another tablet after 2 hours. However, if the first dose does not help, do not take another tablet.

You can take sumatriptan with or without food and you should avoid crushing the tablet.

How often can I take Sumatriptan?

The maximum dose of sumatriptan within a 24-hour period is 300mg. Do not exceed this dose as it may cause narrowing of the blood vessels which can lead to heart complications.

 

Sumatriptan side effects

As with all medication, sumatriptan is associated with side effects such as drowsiness.

Common side effects

Common side effects of sumatriptan typically affect up to 10% of users. They include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Tightness or pressure in the chest
  • Feeling cold or warm
  • Heaviness
  • Tingling
  • Flushing
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle ache

 

Side effects are temporary and usually pass. If side effects continue or get worse (especially difficulty breathing), seek urgent medical attention.

Side effects of Sumatriptan nasal spray

The nasal spray can have the same effects as the tablets and can also cause the following:

  • Burning or irritation in your throat or nose
  • Nose bleeds
  • Bad taste in your throat

When to avoid Sumatriptan

Interactions

You should not take sumatriptan tablets if you are taking certain medication. These include:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) or Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). These include duloxetine, venlafaxine, citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, vortioxetine. These are antidepressants that can cause serotonin syndrome, when taken with sumatriptan. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include sweating, confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, muscle spasms, increased heart rate, diarrhoea, shivering and shaking.
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) such as rasagiline, selegiline, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine can also cause serotonin syndrome and increase the exposure to sumatriptan.
  • Drugs that contain Ergot such as ergotamine cause blood vessels to constrict, which can cause symptoms such as a tight chest. You should stop taking these drugs 24 hours before using sumatriptan and wait 6 hours after taking sumatriptan before you take ergotamine again.
  • St John’s Wort which is a herbal remedy to treat depression. Taking sumatriptan and St john’s wort can increase the chances of side effects.

Warnings

You should not use sumatriptan if you:

  • Are under the age of 18, or over the age of 65. It is not licensed for use in people who fall outside of this age bracket.
  • Have heart problems such as angina, or a history of a heart attack. Sumatriptan can cause a disruption to the rhythm of your heart. It can also cause very serious heart problems and those with heart conditions are usually advised to avoid this medication, unless this is under the supervision of your doctor.
  • Have circulation issues in your legs that causes cramps when you walk (peripheral vascular disease). Sumatriptan can worsen circulation issues and you should avoid using this medication.
  • Have had a stroke. Sumatriptan can cause a brain haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) or stroke.
  • Have high blood pressure (you can use sumatriptan if you are taking medication to treat high blood pressure and it is under control). Sumatriptan can raise blood pressure and you should not use this medication if your blood pressure is not under control.
  • Have liver disease which is serious
  • Are using other medication to treat migraine. There is a serious interaction between ergotamine, another medication that treats migraines. Other migraine medication such as zolmitriptan and rizatriptan belong to the same class of drugs as sumatriptan. Taking these medications together can cause an overdose.
  • Suffer from seizures. It increases the likelihood of experiencing a seizure.

 

Sumatriptan can cause heart complications in a small number of people. If you fall into the following categories, you should discuss the use of sumatriptan with your doctor:

  • If you are a smoker; and especially
  • If you are a male over the age of 40
  • If you are a female who has been through menopause

If you fall into two of these categories, you may need to have your heart function tested, as you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. This can cause complications.

Allergy warning

If you have an allergy to antibiotics known as sulphonamides, you may be allergic to sumatriptan.

The following symptoms are typical of an allergic reaction, and if you develop these symptoms after taking sumatriptan, you may be allergic. You should seek urgent medical attention if you develop the following symptoms:

  • Rash
  • Itchy skin (hives)
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face including eyelids, lips and tongue
  • Collapse

Taking Sumatriptan whilst pregnant

If you are pregnant and wish to take sumatriptan, you should discuss this with your doctor. There is limited research that looks at the safety of sumatriptan in pregnant women. Your doctor will weigh up the benefits, against the potential negative outcomes.

Taking Sumatriptan whilst breastfeeding

Sumatriptan is present in breast milk and you should leave a 12-hour gap between taking sumatriptan and breastfeeding. You should contact your doctor and let them know if you wish to take this drug when breastfeeding.

Sumatriptan and alcohol

Alcohol does not affect sumatriptan and how it works. However, alcohol can trigger migraines and may make them worse, so you should avoid alcohol when suffering from a migraine.