Written by Alex Prewett The drugs are not used in Australia and the price is rising.
What do you think?
Read moreThe price of oral rehydration salts, also known as osmotic softeners, has soared to more than $600 for a 10ml bottle.
A new study suggests the drug has become a big business in Australia.
It found there were more than 7,000 products for sale online, including more than 800 from major retailers, according to the research from the University of Queensland.
The price per unit has risen by about 10 per cent in the past three years, with more than 40 per cent of the drugs on sale in the last two years priced at about $200.
The drugs are manufactured in Australia by a multinational, which has been criticised for the quality of its ingredients.
They are used in the US to treat dental caries, and are marketed to prevent cavities.
“It’s a really good drug that works,” Dr Prewetts said.
“It is a good treatment, and we think the main thing is that it doesn’t require the use of anaesthetic.
We think that is a major issue in terms of the cost and the cost of access.”
Dr Prewets said a large proportion of patients were reluctant to pay for the drug because it was expensive.
“We’ve found that many patients are reluctant to go to the dentist, they’re reluctant to spend the time to get it,” he said.
In addition, there were concerns that some patients were using the drugs in the wrong place, he said, and there was also a potential for misuse.
Some users are also using the drug in places like schools, where there is less supervision.
Many of the products are made by the multinational, and many are available online.
One online pharmacy, Drug-Free Pharmacy, is advertising its products for $30 a bottle.
Dr Pewetts said the use by parents of children with dental caried children was increasing.
He said it was difficult to determine how many children had the condition and that it was also difficult to say if the condition had increased over the past 12 months.
Dr Powetts said while it was good to know more about the condition, he was concerned it was a very small proportion of people.
“I would be concerned if we were seeing a big increase,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“[It] was a small number of children, I think it was the last of the ones I had seen, and I think they would be worried that the children are going to go on to have a condition and the effect of that condition on their lives.”
Dr Mardian is not sure if it was an isolated case or if the drug was becoming a big industry.
She said many people would only use a small amount of the drug, but said there was a possibility it was being marketed in the same way as toothpaste.
“They’re not using it for toothpaste because the toothpaste is so expensive, but they’re using it to prevent caries,” she said.
Dr Mardi said it had not been studied in detail.
“There’s no hard data available about how many people are using it,” she told ABC Adelaide.
“This is a very new, emerging industry, and they’re trying to get a handle on it.
People need to be aware of the fact that there are people who are using these drugs to prevent tooth decay and they should be careful.” AAP/ABC