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Over the Counter Anti-Hemorrhoid Drugs

3 Dec 2010

The are many anti-hemorrhoids drugs available in the market. The drugs that are prescribed for the treatment of hemorrhoids are usually the same as those used for treating anal symptoms like itching or discomfort. These drugs probably reduce only the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Anti hemorrhoid drugs used for the treatment of hemorrhoids are in the form of creams, gels, ointments, suppositories, foams, and pads.

There are different ways of applying these medications. For example, ointments, creams, and gels should be applied as a thin covering when used around the anus. On the other hand, when they are applied to the anal canal, they should be inserted with a finger or a "pile pipe." Prior to insertion, pile pipes should be lubricated with ointment. Suppositories or foams are easy to use and apply than ointments, creams, and gels.

All anti hemorrhoid drugs contain more than one type of active ingredient. Almost all contain a protectant besides another ingredient. We give below the brand-names of the over the counter anti-hemorrhoid drugs containing one ingredient in addition to the protectant.

Local anesthetics:

They provide temporary relief from burning, pain, and itching. The anesthetic numb the nerve endings. They shoulkd only be applied to the perianal area and lower anal canal. There are chances of allergic reactions with burning and itching using lacal anesthetics. In such cases, they should be discontinued.

Local anesthetics include:

  • Benzocaine 5% to 20%
  • Benzyl alcohol 5% to 20%
  • Dyclonine 0.5% to 1.0%
  • Dibucaine 0.25% to 1.0%
  • Pramoxine 1.0%
  • Tetracaine 0.5% to 5.0%
  • Lidocaine 2% to 5%

Vasoconstrictors

These are chemicals that are similar to epinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical. They are applied to the anus, and make the blood vessels smaller. This way the swelling is reduced. They also reduce pain and itching. Vasoconstrictors can also taken orally or by injection. But when applied to the perianal area, there is lower chances of serious side effects, like high blood pressure, tremor, nervousness, sleeplessness, and diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Vasoconstrictors include:

  • Ephedrine sulfate 0.1% to 1.25%
  • Epinephrine 0.005% to 0.01%
  • Phenylephrine 0.25% (Medicone Suppository, Preparation H, Rectacaine)

Protectants:

Protectants are used prevent irritation of the perianal area. When they are applied, they form a physical barrier on the skin. The irritated skin is prevented from contacting with aggravating liquid or stool from the rectum. This barrier reduces itching, pain, irritation, and burning.

Protectants include:

  • Aluminum hydroxide gel
  • Glycerin
  • Mineral oil (Balneol)
  • White petrolatum
  • Cocoa butter
  • Kaolin
  • Lanolin
  • Starch
  • Zinc oxide or calamine
  • Cod liver oil or shark liver oil

Astringents

Astringents lead to coagulation of proteins in the cells of the perianal skin or the anal canal's lining. Astringents promote skin dryness, which in turn helps relieve itching, burning, and pain.

Astringents include:

  • Calamine 5% to 25%
  • Zinc oxide 5% to 25%
  • Witch hazel 10% to 50%

Antiseptics

Antiseptics prevent bacteria and other organisms's growth. However, so far it is not yet been clear whether antiseptics are any more effective than soap and water.

Antiseptics include:

  • Boric acid
  • Phenol
  • Hydrastis
  • Benzalkonium chloride
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride
  • Benzethonium chloride
  • Resorcinol

Keratolytics

The anti hemorrhoid drugs in the form of chemicals that cause the outer layers of skin or other tissues to disintegrate. The two approved keratolytics used are:

  • Aluminum chlorhydroxy allantoinate (alcloxa) 0.2% to 2.0%
  • Resorcinol 1% to 3%

Analgesics

Analgesic anti hemorrhoid drugs include anesthetic products, relieve pain, burning, itching by depressing receptors on pain nerves. For example:

  • Menthol 0.1% to 1.0% (greater than 1.0% is not recommended)
  • Camphor 0.1% to 3% (greater than 3% is not recommended)
  • Juniper tar 1% to 5%

Corticosteroids

They reduce inflammation. They also relieve itching. But when they are used for a long term, they can cause permanent damage to the skin. They should be used at the most for two weeks. Only products with weak corticosteroid effects are available over-the-counter. Stronger corticosteroid products that are available by prescription should not be used for treating hemorrhoids.

Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/hemorrhoids/page4.htm#otc