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What are the uses and side effects of these drugs?

Q: My mother is taking the following medicines on doctor's prescription – Asitac (solus); Cilentra (20mg); Zolfresh and Pantocid DSR. She has sleeplessness. She also has a thyroid problem. What do these medicines individually cure?

A:Thyroid disease is a vague term and can meant both underactive and overactive thyroid gland. Unless you give specific information, we are unable to help you. Asitac is the brand name of a medicine called acitretin. It is used to control severe, extensive, resistant cases of psoriasis (skin disease). It is a very potent medicine with a long list of side effects including liver damage and sight disturbances, reduced night vision etc. Due to its serious side effects in most western countries, it is permitted to use in hospitals only. Cilentra is the brand name of an anti-psychotic medicine called escitaloprim. It is used in depression and panic disorders. It has a very long list of side effects including worsening of depression, suicidal tendency, insomnia (sleeplessness), agitation, hostility, aggression, emotional liability etc. Zolfresh is the brand name of zolpidem and is manufactured by a small-scale company called Acme Formulations Pvt. Ltd, Village Nalgarh, Solan Dist. Himachal Pradesh. Its popular equivalent is Zleep (by Wockhardt). Zolpidem is used for short-term use for sleeplessness. General statement on selection of brands: There are scores, sometimes hundreds, of brands of the same medicine. Against about 300 pharmaceutical manufacturers in western countries like Britain, there are over 20,000 producers in India that market more than 40,000 brands. Most manufacturers do not have quality-testing laboratories. Hence selection of brands is important. Many companies give incentives to prescribers to patronise their products. Patients should check the reputation of manufacturers before consuming medicines.

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