Easing anxiety

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A new OTC option for symptomatic relief of mild anxiety is now available in pharmacies

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia.

On average, one in three women and one in five men will experience anxiety, according to latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This equates to over two million Australians in a 12-month period.

A new product called Seremind is now available without prescription in Australian pharmacies, providing a new option for patients seeking help with symptoms of mild anxiety, nervous tension and disturbed sleep.

Seremind contains silexan, a specially prepared and patented lavender oil that has been clinically tested.

Altogether five double-blinded and randomised controlled trials using either placebo or active controls, some of which were published in the International Journal of NeuropsychopharmacologyEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology and International Clinical Psychopharmacologyhave found silexan to be efficacious in reducing anxiety scores.

The Australian Anxiety Report, commissioned by Seremind manufacturer Menarini and conducted independently by Edelman Intelligence, surveyed more than 1000 Australians with a nationally representative sample.

This report found the top three symptoms of mild anxiety are ‘disturbed sleep’ (62%), ‘anxious mood’ (53%) and ‘recurring thoughts’.

Overall women and younger age groups were more likely to experience these symptoms.

Two in three Australians (66%) who have ever suffered from anxiety have sought advice from a doctor or psychologist.

One in four (23%) have also sought help from a pharmacist.

Two in three (66%) of respondents did not seek help for mild anxiety as they didn’t want to experience harsh medication side-effects.

One in two respondents also reported they did not seek medical help for fear of being labelled with mental health issues.

Emily Edwards, a pharmacist at Tugun Chempro Chemist in Queensland, says anxiety is “most definitely” a frequent presentation in the pharmacy.

“In pharmacy we’re often the first point of call for people who might not necessarily see it as something worthy of going to the doctor, and we’re the first people who can recognise these signs and symptoms,” she tells AJP.

She says that while Seremind has not been on the shelves for very long, it’s exciting that there is an OTC option for pharmacists.

“I think up till now we’ve been very limited in the options that we have to suggest to people,” says Ms Edwards.

Since stocking Seremind she says a lot of people have been coming in and having a conversation about it.

However suggesting its use all depends on each individual patient.

“With anxiety, it depends on the patient, Seremind is more for the mild anxiety patient group, but making sure that we’re doing a full review and asking the right questions and going down the right avenues first,” says Ms Edwards.

“We could use it as a first-line therapy for people who show symptoms of mild anxiety, but if there are any more alarming signs we would suggest that they see a GP and know that they have that additional support.”

“Mild anxiety is common and so many of my patients experience anxiety symptoms at some stage in their life,” says Sydney GP Dr Ginni Mansberg.

“This can include finding it hard to stop worrying, difficulty concentrating, feeling irritable or disturbed sleep, as well as somatic complaints such as palpitations and light headedness.”

Seremind is taken as an 80mg soft capsule once daily with water. The treatment has no known drug interactions, including with oral contraceptives, and research shows it relieves mild anxiety without causing sedation, weight gain, or sexual dysfunction.

It is shown to be well tolerated, with the most common adverse events being mild gastrointestinal complaints (mainly belching) and allergic skin reactions.

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  1. Michael Khoo

    When you read the flyers being distributed to doctors you begin to wonder why this product is not schedule four. It seems to be AUST L which is interesting, considering the claims of clinical efficacy and extensive references provided by the manufacturer.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      Whether it has clinical evidence or not should t affect its schedule – that’s based on safety.

      You’re point about it being AUST-L is interesting – perhaps it costs more to be AUST-L even with adequate evidence?

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