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Controlling medication risks with a new drug category - Finns want simple pain relief

Press release 2 December 2015 at 9.00 a.m.

Pharmacies are introducing a renewed over-the-counter, or OTC, medicines category. The first non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic or NSAID in the category will be Orion Pronaxen 250mg (10 tablets) that until now has only been available on prescription in Finland. The types of medication Finns particularly want in the renewed category are those that alleviate pain and local inflammation. Controlling medication risks is another reason for the renewed drug category.

The Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea has approved a new OTC medicines category, OTC medication requiring additional advice. These include medicines which, when purchased, require active additional advice from the pharmacy staff when dispensing the product. Before handing over the product, the pharmacy staff ensure that the customer understands the instructions and has no illness or other medication that would prevent the use of the product in question. Products in the OTC category require no prescription.

There is strong demand for the new OTC category. According to a survey commissioned by Orion, over 70 percent of Finns between the ages 15 and 80 think that it would be a good idea if more medicines were available in pharmacies without a prescription but with a pharmacist's guidance. Finns particularly want non-prescription drugs for the treatment of migraines, menstrual pain as well as eye infections and urinary tract infections. In the survey, 35 percent of women wanted OTC drugs for urinary tract infections. The survey conducted by market research company Cint in November had 1,028 respondents.

"The OTC medicines category will help to better control any medication risks associated with self-help products. The customer will receive expert advice in choosing the right product in the pharmacy. If more products are added to the category in future, it will also lighten the load of the health care sector," says Orion's Medical Director Paula Rytilä.

Pharmacy staff to receive further training in the category's OTC products
The first NSAID in the category will be Orion Pronaxen 250mg. It provides long-lasting relief for inflammation, pain and fever, and can be used for the treatment of temporary pains such as toothache, headaches and muscular, joint and menstrual pain. A Finnish product, Pronaxen has so far only been available on prescription in Finland.

"Pronaxen's active ingredient is naproxen. Such products are sold over the counter in Sweden, for example, and experiences have been encouraging," says Paula Rytilä.

Before Pronaxen, emergency contraception products have been available over the counter in this way in Finnish pharmacies. Good experiences have shown that pharmacy staff are already skilled in guiding OTC customers who need additional advice.

The Finnish Pharmacists' Association also believes the new category will be successful.

"We are, of course, very pleased that the competence of pharmacists will now be utilised even better than before. Our highly educated pharmacy experts can not only meet each customer individually and assess their needs but also refer them to a doctor if necessary," says Kirsi Kvarnström, President of the Finnish Pharmacists' Association.


Further information:

Orion Corporation:

Paula Rytilä
Medical Director, Orion Corporation - Orion Pharma

Tel. +358 (0)50 966 4416


Questions about Pronaxen

Selina Poikela
Product Manager, Orion Corporation - Orion Pharma
Tel. +358 (0)50 966 5736


Finnish Pharmacists' Association

Kirsi Kvarnström
President, Finnish Pharmacists' Association
Tel. +358 (0)50  368 9187


Background information

NSAIDs are the most popular painkillers in Finland

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, alleviate inflammation, pain and fever. Every year more than a million Finns use NSAIDs for various acute and chronic aches and infections.

  • NSAIDs are mostly used to treat headaches, toothache, menstrual pain, pain caused by injury or surgery, and musculoskeletal pain and diseases. (Orion's brochure "Relief for pain and colds")
  • NSAIDs inhibit the production of inflammation mediators. (Duodecim Terveyskirjasto)
  • NSAIDs include ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen and acetylsalicylic acid products. Ibuprofen is the most commonly used NSAID in Finland. (Orion's brochure "Relief for pain and colds")
  • About a third of NSAIDs are bought over the counter. (Duodecim Terveyskirjasto)
  • Naproxen is available without prescription in Sweden, Norway, the UK and the Netherlands. Diclofenac is available over the counter in Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. (Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea)
  • The use of NSAIDs increases with age. About 60% of NSAID users are women. (Current Care Guidelines)
  • NSAIDs are recommended to be taken as a quickly absorbed tablet or capsule. Other options include injections, suppositories or products applied on the skin. (Duodecim Terveyskirjasto)
  • NSAIDs should not be confused with paracetamol, which also alleviates pain and fever but does not inhibit inflammatory response. (Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea)
  • The most common side effects of NSAIDs include stomach problems, skin reactions, bloating and high blood pressure. (Current Care Guidelines)

References and more information:



Orion is a globally operating Finnish company that develops pharmaceuticals and diagnostic tests - a builder of well-being. It develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, active pharmaceutical ingredients and diagnostic tests. The company constantly focuses on R&D into new drugs and treatment methods. The core therapy areas of Orion's pharmaceutical R&D are central nervous system disorders, oncology, and respiratory diseases for which Orion develops inhaled Easyhaler® pulmonary drugs. Orion's net sales in 2014 amounted to EUR 1,015 million, and the company had about 3,500 employees at the end of the year. Orion has production in Finland in six locations: Espoo, Turku, Kuopio, Salo, Oulu and Hanko. Orion is a Finnish Key Flag company and a major taxpayer; in 2014, it returned about EUR 113 million as various taxes for the well-being of society.