Magazine article Drug Topics

It's No Axid-Ent

Magazine article Drug Topics

It's No Axid-Ent

Article excerpt

Another H^sub2^ antagonist goes over the counter

Axid AR is the latest H^sub2^ antagonist to become available over the counter. This nonprescription version of the antiulcer medication Axid (nizatidine) is indicated for prevention of heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach caused by food and beverages. It will be marketed by Whitehall-Robins Healthcare, the consumer health-care division of American Home Products Corp.

One 75-mg tablet can be taken up to twice daily, 30 to 60 minutes before consuming food and beverages that cause discomfort. The company claims that Axid AR "has a very low incidence of side effects" and "is well tolerated by adults over 65." Whitehall-Robins also said that Axid AR is "unlikely to interact with other medications."

Though it is entering a competitive market, Axid AR has a strong and successful history backing it up. More than 30 million Axid since have product was written since the product was introduced eight years ago. Worldwide sales of this prescription ulcer drug reached $548 million in 1995. The company's leaders are confident that the OTC version will be well received by consumers, who have demonstrated an affinity for H^sub2^ antagonists.

"Based on consumers' enthusiastic response to the introduction of overthe-counter acid reducers, there is enormous sales opportunity in the category from former prescription users, antacid users, and new adopters. Based on the WhitehallRobins track record, we are confident that Axid AR will become a wellestablished brand in an explosive category," said Terrence L. Stecz, president of Whitehall-Robins Healthcare.

Though its maker has high hopes about Axid's introduction, experts believe that the OTC will have to overcome some obstacles in order to achieve success in this competitive market. Because it has entered the race after other H^sub2^ an-tagonists, including Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB, and Zantac 75, Axid AR might have difficulty carving out a niche for itself, according to Susan Lavine Coleman, president of NCI Consulting in Princeton, N.J.

"It's probably not going to get the level of trial because many people have discovered H^sub2^ brands that they are happy with and may not feel any compelling need to try it," said Coleman.

Late entry into the market won't affect Zantac 75 quite as dramatically, according to Coleman. …

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