Understand the impact of your pharmaceutical choices. The medicines and drugs you consume have very specific uses in our bodies, but do we know what happens to them after their effect has been felt?
The list below are some of the persistent chemical compounds found in many ordinary pharmaceuticals products, but may pass through our bodies into sewage waste water. They do not easily break down in the waste water treatment process, escaping via the effluents discharged from the process and are being washed out into our river and ocean systems. These forever chemicals have been found in the ocean marine life around Cape Town through research done by the Environmental Nano-Sciences Group at the University of the Western Cape with Professor Leslie Petrik and students. You can read more about the work here and the paper here.
Acetaminophen (ACT) aka Paracetamol
Common brand: Panadol and Tylenol
Uses: This drug is used to treat mild to moderate pain (from headaches, menstrual periods, toothaches, backaches, osteoarthritis, or cold/flu aches and pains) and to reduce fever.
Lamivudine (LA) aka 3TC
Common brand: Epzicom, Epivir-HBV and Epivir.
Uses: It is an antiretroviral medication used to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. It is also used to treat chronic hepatitis B when other options are not possible. It is effective against both HIV‑1 and HIV‑2.
Common brand: Bactrim: Septra and Sulfatrim.
Uses: An antibiotic used for bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, bronchitis, and prostatitis and is effective against both gram negative and positive bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli.
Common brand: Tegretol, Equetro, Epitol, Tegretol XR, Carbamazepine Chewtabs, Carbamazepine CR, Carbatrol, Teril, Carnexiv.
Uses: An anticonvulsant medication used primarily in the treatment of epilepsy and neuropathic pain. It works by decreasing nerve impulses that cause seizures and nerve pain, such as trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy. Carbamazepine is also used to treat bipolar disorder.
Common brand: Dilantin, Phenytek, and Epanutin.
Uses: To prevent and control seizures (also called an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug). It works by reducing the spread of seizure activity in the brain.
Found in: tea, coffee, and cacao plants
Uses: A natural stimulant. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug.
Common brand: Zorvolex, Cambia, Dyloject, Voltaren-XR
Uses: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is taken by mouth, rectally in a suppository, used by injection, or applied to the skin. It’s used to treat aches and pains, as well as problems with joints, muscles and bones. These include:
- rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout
- sprains and strains in muscles and ligaments
- back pain
- ankylosing spondylitis — this causes inflammation of the spine and other parts of the body