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The demand for pharmaceutical products used by athletes to treat muscular and articular afflictions--a farmacoeconomic study.


Muscle cramps are involuntary contractions that occur suddenly that can be intense and painful, localized in the skeletal muscle areas. Muscle contractions can occur due to an effort that overwhelm those areas such as a result of sports training, muscle stretching, bad posture or an extended sitting position.

Muscle contraction represents the painful shortening of the soft tissue fibers and is considered an excess of muscle tone by keeping intramuscular tension over its physiological limits. The permanent intramuscular tension pressing on vessels and intramuscular capillaries are causing an intramuscular circulatory system deficiency, which causes poor muscle oxygenation. Thus, the accumulation of carbon dioxide in causing muscle pain.

The main causes for muscle cramps and joint pains

Among the causes of muscle cramps we can include (count):

--reduced levels of magnesium, calcium and potassium in the blood, minerals that are directly involved in nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction;

--intense exercise done without an adequate warm up, dehydration and exhaustion due to physical effort or excessive heat;

--hampered peripheral circulation of blood;

--deficiency of vitamins B1, B5, B6;

--deficiency in hesperidin (a flavonoid) which is a compound associated with vitamin C, especially in citrus and determine the normal functioning of blood vessels;


To relieve muscle tension and joint discomfort but also for maintaining joint mobility and flexibility we resort to physical therapy and physiotherapy as well as the administration of drug treatments with synthesis and semi-synthesis pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, and products based on plant or plant extracts.

Joints make the connections between bones and provides support and commissioning of body movement. Pain occurring at this level can vary in severity from mild to extremely aggressive.

Joint pain known as arthralgia can occur both in athletes and among populations of any age.

The cause of joint pain may be itself or related structures that come into contact with the respective tendons, joints and muscles. Inflammatory joint pain can occur affecting athletes from the smaller joints of the hands and feet to the spine.

Causes that can cause joint pain are inflammatory arthritis (joint inflammation), local lesions (bumps limbs, fractures, dislocations or fractures of cartilage and tendons) and obesity among the population.

Joint pain can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs prescription (administered dermal and/or oral), rest, massage and also by natural methods.

The aim of the paper

The aim of this study is to highlight the demand for anti-inflammatory medications and supplements designed to treat muscle and joint disorders.

Materials and methods

For the study we used the retrospective analysis of information regarding the demand of pharmaceutical products for improving muscle contractures and arthralgia, provided by the quantitative value of the pharmacy records studied, and specialty materials studied.

Results and discussion

Given the regulations on the administration of banned substances athletes competing in sports competitions, trying to ameliorate the pain caused by muscle stiffness, joint pain and trauma, are turning to alternative solutions allowed, namely pharmaceuticals with anti-inflammatory effect that reduces and relieves the cause of pain.

Thus, athletes are receiving allowed medications, herbal medicines and plant extracts or nutritional supplements which will also represent our object of study.

The current trend in the pharmaceutical industry consists in the obtaining of the specific products by using more plants or plant extracts which are allowed to be administered by athletes.

Pharmaceutical research has shown the beneficial effects of certain categories of plants in relieving joint pain and removing the causes that leads to muscular contractions.

To highlight the demand for pharmaceuticals used to improve these conditions, we conducted a study in a pharmaceutical unit from Prahova County.

In practice, athletes, who need to relieve and eliminate muscular pain, even though the most commonly used procedures are manual therapy or massage and stretching, often they choose a faster effect and resort to drugs or herbal treatments.

Thus, to prevent muscle pain, athletes are advised to take supplements, as found in the study conducted (Table 1).

From the information presented in table. 1, it can be seen that the best dietary supplement issued for pain killers are products that contain calcium, magnesium, zinc, and products that can be administered by athletes without restrictions.

The demand for nutritional supplements will be significantly influenced in the next period as a result of fiscal measures taken on VTA reduction from 24% to 9%, which will significantly reduce their prices.

Due to fear, but also of the rules imposed by the National and International Agencies of Anti-Doping for prevention and fighting against doping in sport, and in accordance with the 2015 Prohibited List and "Prohibited List International Standard--2015 World Anti-Doping Agency's", athletes often resort to herbal or natural products containing plant extracts which have an unrestricted use (table no. 2).

Given the extended action of herbal natural products and plant extracts because of the unrestricted use of these product categories, they are preferred and frequently used by athletes.

Since there is a risk of permanent injury to athletes, both in training and during the competition, they turn to rapid effects and anti-inflammatory medication that relieves muscle and joint pain, as presented in Table. 3.

The trend of drug consumption among athletes is generally restricted, natural products being preferred, which gives them freedom in administration.

To prevent muscle contractures and arthralgia, athletes adopt a proper healthy diet, by eating fruits and vegetables, high in contents of magnesium, vitamin B complex REC, iron, vitamin C, essential fatty acids, such as grapes, bananas, melon, parsley, broccoli, spinach, etc.

The study highlighted the dynamic evolution of the demand regarding the best released permitted drugs to be used by athletes, with anti-inflammatory action, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical products based on plants or plant extracts, as presented in Tables. 1, 2, 3.


Given the information gained from the study to improve muscle and joint pain, athletes will have to turn to products containing vitamins and minerals which are allowed substances, thus they avoid breaking the rules imposed by the Anti-Doping Agency, and not risking elimination from any sport competitions.

Therefore, they will adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet, proper hydration and a style of movement properly so as to avoid muscle contractures and arthralgia.

We appreciate that the fiscal measure to reduce VAT will significantly influence consumption and the demand for supplements.


Thank athletes who participated in this study


ORDER Nr. 289, regarding the approval of the Banned List for 2015(M.O. 887/2014)

Treaty of Pharmacology, Aurelia Nicoleta Cristea, Ed.1, Editura Medicala, Bucuresti.

Treatment and Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness DECLAN A.J. CONNOLLY, 1 STEPHEN P. SAYERS, 2 AND MALACHY P.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use and Endurance During Running in Male Long-Distance Runners Eduardo Da Silva, Ronei S. Pinto; Eduardo L. Cadore, Luiz F. Kruel, PhD


Effectiveness of active physical training as treatment for longstanding adductor-related groin pain in athletes Per Holmich, Pernille Uhrskou, Lisbeth Ulnits

Functional Foods, Beverages, and Ingredients in Athletics Marie Spano, Spano Sports Nutrition Consulting, Atlanta, Georgia and Running


(1) "Ovidius" University, Faculty of Pharmacy, Aleea Universitatii Street, no. 1, Constanta, Romania


Received 17.03.2015/Accepted 3.04.2015
Table no. 1--Top 5 supplements issued by the studied pharmacy

Nr.          Product                  Substance/extract
crt.          name

1.     Rumalaya tablets      Mahayograj guggul; Shankha
                             bhasma; Shilajeet; Hibiscus
                             abelmoschus, Swarnamakshik bhasma;
                             Extracts from Maharasnadi guath

2.     Omega 3 Doppelhertz   Salmon Oil

3.     Shark Cartilage       Cartilage de Requin

4.     Zdrovit- Mg+Ca+Zn     Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc

5.     Fleximobil            Harpagozide, Glucozamina,

Nr.      Quantity            Action/Recommendation
crt.     released

1.     27              Anti-inflammatory and analgesic,
                       reduce morning stiffness,
                       swelling, increases mobility of
                       joints and improves quality of

2.     64              Reduce blood lipid levels,
                       beneficial influences over the
                       cardiovascular system, relieves
                       joint pain, and may reduce the
                       dose of anti-inflammatory
                       nonsteroidal drugs (NSAIDs)

3.     26              Remineralizing,
                       anti-inflammatory, increases
                       joint mobility, reduce the
                       effects of muscle injuries.

4.     110             Relaxes the muscular system,
                       ensures optimal intake of
                       vitamins and minerals when
                       unbalanced diets, physical
                       demands and sports activities.

5.     81              Similar actions as the NSAIDs,
                       relieve pain and inflammation,
                       recommended in osteoarthritis.

Source: financial accounting statements of pharmacy studied, 2014

Table no. 2--Top 10 natural products allowed to be used
by athletes

Nr.      Product name               Substance/extract

1.     Cream Dr Boice     Extracts of hellebore (Helleborus
                          purpurascens), Chestnut (Aesculus
                          hippocastanum) and oil of juniper
                          (Juniperus communis)

2      Devil's claw       Eucalyptus, ginseng, lemongrass and
       antiinflammatory   rosemary

3      Relaxing Gel       Hellebore extract, chestnut and
       with Hellebore     juniper

4      Bear Power Gel     Mint, eucalyptus, ginseng and
       antirheumatic      grape-vine

5.     Burdock root       Arctium lappa L. plant roots, fam.
       tea                Asteraceae

6.     Tea leaves of      Symphytum officinale

7.     Tea sage           Salvia officinalis

8      Biomobil Gel       Pepper extract (extractum CAPS),
       50ml Fares         rosemary oil (Rosmarini aetheroleum),
                          camphor (Camphora), marigold extract
                          (extractum flos Calendulae), St.
                          John's Wort extract (extractum herba
                          Hyperici), Triethanolamine, nipagin,
                          Carbopol 940

9      Reumabloc-Sun      Boswelia Serrata Extract, Curcuma
       Wave Pharma        Longa, Vitex negundo

10     Tone the           Arnica tincture, sea buckthorn oil,
       tonic and          camphor and spearmint oil
       cream 50 g

Nr.    Quantity                Value/Action
crt.   released/

1.        27       --antialgic, anti-inflammatory,
                   vasoregulator and stimulating
                   capillary circulation;

2         41       --anti-inflammatory, analgesic and
                   protection of liver function;

3         22       --muscle relaxation after effort,
                   muscle pain; maintaining joint
                   mobility; rapid resorption of
                   hematomas; alleviate edema and

4         36       --alleviate muscle pain, soothe and
                   reduce inflammation, stimulating

5.        27       --anti-inflammatory, muscle pain and

6.        38       --rheumatism, gout, arthritis,
                   spondylitis, discopathy;

7.                 --the heart tonic, astringent and

8         18       --elimination of joint discomfort,
                   maintain joint mobility and

                   --rheumatism, lombosciatica, nerve,
                   muscle contraction;

9         53       --muscle pain and rheumatism,
                   bruises, sprains, fractures,
                   tendonitis, bursitis, contractures
                   and muscle strains that occur in

10        73       --tonic, anti-inflammatory,
                   stimulating peripheral blood
                   circulation to the skin;

                   -relaxes muscles after a prolonged
                   effort or if various cases of muscle

Source: financial accounting statements of pharmacy
studied 2014

Table no. 3--Anti-inflammatory drugs that can be
administered to athletes

Nr.     Product      Substance/      Quantity          Action/
crt.     name          extract       released/     Recommendation

1.     Buffered    Acetylsalicylic      520      --controlling
       aspirin     acid                          pain for mild
                                                 to moderate
                                                 muscle pain,
                                                 rheumatic pain,
                                                 joint pain,
                                                 muscle pain;

                                                 fever and joint

2.     Piroxicam   Piroxicam            96       --extrainflammatory
       creme                                     joint
                                                 inflammation of
                                                 the tendons
                                                 back with
                                                 spinal cord

3.     Ibalgin     Ibuprofen            71       --Musculoskeletal
       ointment                                  pain, rheumatic
                                                 or muscular
                                                 pain, sprains
                                                 dislocations of
                                                 neuralgia, back
                                                 muscle pain or
                                                 nature (slight
                                                 injury of the

4.     Ketonal     Ketoprofen           42       --conditions of
       gel                                       pain and muscle
                                                 damage, topical

5.     Bengay      Methyl               58       --topically
                   salicylate                    administered
                   and mentol                    relieves pain
                                                 in joints and

6.     Diclac      Diclofenac           73       --reducing
       ointment    Sodium                        inflammation
                                                 and pain in the
                                                 joints and

Source: financial accounting statements of pharmacy studied
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Title Annotation:Original article
Author:Doina, Margaritti
Publication:Ovidius University Annals, Series Physical Education and Sport/Science, Movement and Health
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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