Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Rio de Janeiro medicates me

I hate coming to a new country and not being able to find those much needed medications! While I can not recommend self-medicating, we all do it and I wanted to share a few of my finds.

Trimidal - Great cold (gripe) medicine. You are supposed to start by taking 2 pills your first dose and one pill every 12 hours afterwards.

Acetilcisteina - This is the generic name. It's a powered medicine for bad coughs.  Good stuff!

Buscopan - Cramps be gone!  Diarrhea cramps, menstrual cramps, and maybe even pain in the ass fill in the blank cramps. It's that good. Get the tablets if for an adults. The liquid tastes like whatever it is that is giving you cramps in the first place.

Nolvagina - Fever be gone! Great stuff, especially for kids. Keep in mind that some people have serious dipirona (main ingredient) allergies and will have a reaction to this stuff, my brother-in-law for example.

Imosec - Diarrhea be gone!  FYI, only stop it if you think it should be stopped. Sure, we always feel it should be stopped but sometimes it's just best to let it run it's course.

Dorflex - it's a mild muscle relaxer. Great for muscles strains or mild cramps.  You will not get high. Don't even try.

Agua rabelo - This is an old school North Eastern medicine that can be found in many drug stores.  You can drink it for intestinal problems, pour it over infections, gargle it, and drink it for sore throats. You name it, it supposedly treats it.  Now, I can say that I've used it on (by pouring it over) a couple of infections (my c-section for example) and it did wonders. I don't know how and I didn't ask. I'm a believer but not when it comes to drinking it because it's just nasty! 

Amilia - This is a liquid talc.  Amazing, AMAZING stuff for heat rash. Get it, love it, own it. Someone has or will get heat rash and this stuff will make it significantly better overnight.

Disclaimer: Read instructions, even if it means your doorman has to read them then play a game of charades with you to explain them.  

Any tips from out there?  Which medicines have you found helpful in Brazil?


  1. oh my gosh, thank you for posting this. when i couldn't sleep due to a HORRID cough, I finally found this: maleato de dexclorfeniramina + sulfato de pseudoefedrina + guaifensenia. It's not as glorious as bight time theraflu, but it does the trick. I got the generic stuff for $8 R, but I can't remember what the name is of the name brand.

  2. yea for Dorflex. It does wonders on nasty (migraine type) headaches too.

  3. Valuable info! Any good antihistamines? (preferably non-drowsy like Claritin, Zyrtec)

    And a cough medicine for kids?

    Out of curiosity can meds be obtained OTC or do they all require a prescription?

    Are meds available only in pharmacies or are there general stores like CVS, Walgreens, Target where they can be obtained OTC?

    Lastly, can flavor be added to nasty tasting liquid antibiotics for kids so they'll actually swallow the stuff?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback!

  4. They have Allegra down here. There's also celestime and Hixine. You'd have to see a doctor to find out which would be best for you.

    Everything is OTC here :)

    Meds are only available in pharmacies. You will only find 3 pharmacies on every single block in every single neighborhood! lol

    Most meds for kids automatically come with flavor. For kids cough, I'd again see a doctor first. You should ask DRL about Peds who speak English! Actually, DRL, if you are reading this, you should post the doctors you know who speak English :) I've just gotten used to going to Portuguese speaking doctors.

  5. Great post.

    I have developed an allergy toward dish detergent (given there is no hot water on tap and I have to use so much of the stuff!). Nasty. The dermatologist has recommended many topical creams, but none as effective as Diprogenta (“for the relief of inflammatory manifestations of corticosteroid responsive dermatosis”) – works great.

    On a basic level – Granado antiseptic talc powder works great to keep moist areas dry so as to avoid a rash.

    Typically I put little faith in cold medicines but Trimidol is amazing.

    Jean – Few stores here are one-stop-shops. There is a food store and a building supply store and a pharmacy and a housewares store. So you will not find medicines in a grocery store, for example. Medications are found in local pharmacies which are everywhere, often two or three on one block. Be sure to shop around, prices vary A LOT from store to store. You should always ask for a discount as well. “Is there a discount on this?” You usually get something.

    Many prescription drugs can be bought simply by asking for them by name and smiling. Packages with a bold red stripe across them are supposed to be bought by prescription only – but that seems to be a rarely enforced reality.

    In general medications (like so many things) are much more expensive here, so bring a supply of your favorites when you come.

  6. I remember the one time I was denied a px medicine at a pharmacy. I had called my pediatrician and he gave me the information and told me to go get said medicine.

    I just looked at the pharmacist and asked her if she was serious. She said yes. I then told her she must be new. I went to another one at the same counter, who did know me, and bought what I needed. Shockingly, she was never available to help me after that.

  7. Can't forget Floratil. It's to replenish the healthy bacteria after and during the poops

  8. Thanks for all the tips! Very helpful indeed (and intimidating, too, I might add!) So much to learn, so much to learn...;-)

  9. I don't know if this counts, but it's pretty much impossible to find anything to help you if you're lactose intolerant (like Lactaid or dairy digestive), so it's a good idea to stock up when you're in the US/Canada (not sure about other countries). Last time I was in Brazil and my wife needed it, my mom had to order it online and it cost well over RS150, to have it shipped from Sao Paulo, and those pills usually cost $4 at the most.

    Oh, and I couldn't find anything that helped me as most as Sudafed does when my nose decided to boycott my body. Any tips?

  10. Marcus doesn't love Trimedal, so we never take it. I usually take Naldecon Dia/Noite, which works and has the plus of knocking you down for a wonderful deep sleep. To me, that's what really works for really bad colds: a good rest.
    We may not have wonderful meds, but we do have a bunch of "works-for-anything" folklore stuff, such as Hipoglós, Pomada do Vovô Pedro (u have to pray a Heavenly Father prayer while rubbing it upwards), Maravilha Curativa. And we have the benzedeiras, if you kid has "quebranto". See, the Saci was just the start...
    For my nose I take Sorine (dont get the generic Neosoro, it's cheaper but it takes 4 drops of it to work what 1 drop of Sorine does). It works for me, but if you need stronger stuff you can use Conidrin as well.
    Rachel, having been denied a red tag med is really astonishing in a place where not only you can get all these meds OTC but anyone who works at a pharmacy (not only the pharmacist) thinks is entitled to diagnose and prescribe whatever they see fit to you.

  11. Regarding the expense of medications: have any of you tried a farmacia de manipulacao? Brazilians I know here in the U.S. have told me about them, and it seems they basically are pharmacies that will make up generic forms of a drug for you for about 1/3 of the cost. I'm curious to know if anyone has experience with them. If not, they might be worth a try!

  12. I had to use one of those labs when my youngest was under one. He took prilosec but it had to be made into liquid form. I know a couple good ones and I have some friends who do what you are saying, but mainly with creams and such.

    It may be cheaper, but I would worry about the quality and or consistency of the medication. I def had medication come slightly different each time.

  13. What about dramamine? Is it easy to find?

  14. I think Dramamine is Dramin down here. I think is the key phrase there. :) It's what my ped suggested I give my kid to fly so...

  15. I love the internet (and your blogpost! :-)) Thanks very much.. Its not good getting a cold while being in wonderful Rio, but its way better when you know what do do against it :-) Obrigado!