Analgesics are counter pain drugs, which assist in regulating pain for a period of time, until and unless it is completely eliminated. OTC analgesic drugs are used by individuals devoid of the need for any prescription. Drugs that do not require prescription are classified as OTC analgesics. OTC analgesics are available in brand and generic formulations as tablets, capsules, creams, sprays, and patches.
The international association for the study of pain defines pain as a discomfort experience due to a possible tissue injury. Pain is classified into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. Typical conditions associated with pain are headache, musculoskeletal injuries, dysmenorrhea, and others such as toothache. Various kinds of OTC pain relief products are available in the market. These constitute three active ingredients: paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
Paracetamol is the commonly used OTC analgesic. Its analgesic property is analogous to that of aspirin and ibuprofen. It does not carry any anti-inflammatory effects. Paracetamol inhibits prostaglandin synthesis within the central nervous system. It is the first choice of analgesic for pain management. Prolonged use of paracetamol may enhance the anticoagulant effect of coumarins. Common side-effects associated with paracetamol are hypersensitivity, rare cases of blood dyscrasias (including thrombocytopenia and agranulocytosis). Aspirin is another common OTC analgesic. Aspirin is analgesic, antipyretic, antiplatelet, and anti-inflammatory. The inhibition of cyclooxygenase results in analgesic effect of aspirin. Antagonistic effects of aspirin are epigastric pain, gastrointestinal ulceration, nausea and vomiting, hypersensitivity, and gout.
The OTC Analgesic Drugs Market can be segmented based on route of administration, distribution channel, and geography. In terms of route of administration, the OTC analgesics drugs market can be classified into oral, topical, intramuscular administration, and intravenous. Based on distribution channel, OTC analgesics drugs market can be divided into hospital pharmacies, drug stores, retail drug stores, and e-commerce.
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The major drivers for OTC analgesic market are increase in demand for topical analgesics, growth in geriatric population, cost efficiency of OTC drugs has led to the increasing the usage rate, increasing use of off-label drugs has led to easy pain management due to availability of OTC analgesics, and major analgesic manufacturers and distributor are increasing their product portfolio and geographical footprint to increase their stronghold in the global OTC analgesic market in the developed as well as developing markets.
Side-effects such as constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, and heart attack associated with OTC analgesic drugs is one of the key restraints of the market. OTC analgesic drugs may also cause serious damage to the brain in rare cases. Long-term usage of painkillers or analgesics can lead to addiction and drug overdose. According to a study, painkillers are the second most abused substances, after marijuana, in the U.S. Therefore, uncertainty regarding increase in stringent regulations on OTC analgesics is expected to significantly hamper the OTC analgesic market.
Based on region, the global OTC analgesic market can be segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is anticipated to be the prominent region of the OTC analgesic market due to the higher demand, presence of major pharmaceutical product manufacturers, better health care reforms in terms of patient care, and increase in mergers and acquisitions in the global market. Europe also held key share of the global OTC analgesic market. Asia Pacific is estimated to provide lucrative opportunities to the global OTC analgesic market largely due to the rise in disease burden, rapid increase in research, and growth in competitive landscape in the pharmaceutical industry, as large number of global players are expanding their business in the region through strategic collaborations with regional manufacturers and research institutes. The global OTC analgesic market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is projected to be driven by the increase in health care infrastructure and public-private collaborations.
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Major companies operating in the global OTC analgesic market include Johnson & Johnson Service, Inc., AstraZeneca Plc., Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc., Novartis AG, GlaxoSmithKline Plc., Pfizer Inc., Takeda Pharma, Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, and Bayer.