What Is In "Doan's" Pills?

I recall seeing this patent medicine in the local Walgreen’s-and I remember my grandmother buying them.
Presumably they are good for something…ormaybe they are mostly a placebo?
Anyway, these things have been on the market for over 100 years…does the FDA require some kind of periodic testing of stuff like this, or is it just grandfathered?

They’re a pain reliever related to aspirin.

They remain on the market because they do what they claim to do – relieve pain. There may be better things out there, but they are not placebos.

They were (are?) marketed for backaches, if I recall correctly.

They can be sold because they are an over-the-counter drug. Prescription drugs need to be proven to be both efficacious* and non-harmful is taken as instructed. OTC’s only need to fill the second requirement.

(Aside: if anyone here has tasted Gertitol, please confirm or refute that it’s to Red Bull what Coca Cola syrup is to fountain coke)

*“efficacious” is not simply a silly old word for “effective.” Legally, a drug that poisons the patient can still be said to have “effectively” done so. Efficacious means it acheives the desired effect.

Doan’s pills are magnesium salicylate. It’s an old-fashioned analgesic/antiinflammatory, like aspirin. It’ll probably upset your stomach even more than aspirin does, but if you can tolerate it, what the heck.

We-e-e-e-e’ll drink, drink, drink
To Lily the Pink, Pink, Pink
Savior of the human ra-a-ace!
She invented Medicinal Compound,
Most efficacious in every case.

Glad to know I’m not the only one who had Lily the Pink put in their head by that post…

Hijack: Why did “Carter’s Little Liver Pills” used to be called that? I’ve heard of them and always wondered if they are made from liver, or meant for treating disorders of the liver, or what. I just searched Wiki and found out they’re a laxative. And now called simply “Carter’s Little Pills.”

Doan’s Pills are the only medication that actually works for my lower back spasms. Pain-killers that work for headaches and other things have no effect. I’ve taken it when I also had a headache, and it only help the back spasms.

The FTC called them on it in 1951 Since the pills did nothing for the liver, they insisted they change the name.

Moved Cafe Society --> GQ.

I would have thought that if they’re making any medical claims there would have to be proof of efficacy.

There would be; an OTC drug is still considered a drug by the FDA, and has to follow certain rules (including noting the active ingredient, and the FDA-approved effect of said active ingredient).

You’ll see products sold in drug stores which do not contain FDA-approved drugs, but which try to make drug-like claims. Those products usually have a small violator on the package which says something like “Not intended to treat any medical condition”.

However, Doan’s Pills do not fall into this second group.Looks like they’re considered an NSAID, which puts them in the same class of drugs as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. If this info’s accurate, then

Fortunately, I don’t have back problems. But there was one time years and years ago when my back was killing me. Neither aspirin nor Tylenol alleviated the pain. Then I tried Doan’s Pills I found in the medicine cabinet. Worked like a charm.

No idea why it worked and the others didn’t. (I remember thinking at the time, ‘How does it know the pain is in my back?’)

I use them when my back acts up. My wife also uses them for the same, and once in a while to reduce monthly cramps.

Hm … wonder how effective they would be for my pseudogout and osteoarthritis … aleive/naprosin is about like eating blue M&Ms, and tylenol is about like popping a dose of baby aspirin [to be effective, I would need to take something bordering on toxic levels :mad:]. Unfortunately my favorites [ibuprofin and indomethicin] both make my blood pressure do really bad things :frowning:

If I remember correctly, commercials for Doan’s Pills also included the phrase, “A mild diuretic to the kidneys” (where else?). Presumably, the back aches they were trying to alleviate were somehow caused by kidney disease that could be remedied this way. Maybe they were a mild diuretic. Since I was just a whipper snapper when I heard those commercials, I didn’t accumulate any empirical evidence as to how they worked. Or how well they worked.