05 February 2011

Sunday Ride -- the last chance for a "pre-pollen" ride?

A combination of factors prevented me from joining the David C farewell ride ... other than a quick spin for about 10 minutes with them as they passed my house ... so I'll ride Sunday with Jerome and, I believe, Didier as well.  Nice to see some new riders -- Tristan and Mark -- in the group, with Dominic, Graham, David C., Tyler and ... anyone else I might be forgetting.  Ludwig was planning to join upriver.

Sunday 7:55AM start at my house. Return by 5PM. Route not yet defined, but will involve hills in the countryside.  The slightly warmer forecast this weekend suggests the hills may be a bit higher than in recent weeks ... but it will probably be cloudy and so may not feel warm at all?

Leave a comment or email if you plan to join.

The Saturday morning Nikkei had a huge spread about the anticipated arrival of massive volumes of fur tree pollen (sugi kafun) by mid-February in pretty much our entire riding area, except for maybe Tom or Ludwig, who manage to get to northern Gunma, in which case you buy yourself another week or two until late-February. (*Not an issue for our Bremen or London chapters).

Of course, this is an an annual event -- very early pollen from the fur trees that were planted on every hillside in this country after the massive deforestation that occurred during WWII -- apparently it takes quite a few trees to make the equivalent fuel of a liter of gasoline.

But the pollen volume varies by year, depending on the weather the previous year.  This year the powers that be are predicting something like 10-X the fur tree pollen of last year.  If you suffer from hay fever, get ready -- get your shots, or start your Claritin, or whatever.  In my case, I'll probably try a combination of generic Claritin (Loratadine) plus being careful to shave on weekend mornings before riding -- stubble being a great pollen collector as compared to a freshly shaved face.  And of course, we will see even more people wearing masks in more places than during the earlier (but ongoing) cold and flu season.


Richard said...

Would mind sharing your source of generic claritin?

David L. said...

... 120 tab bottle picked up at a Rite Aide while visiting the U.S.A. last summer that should get the two of us through this Spring. The generic name is Loratadine.

My wife heard from a friend that it is available in Japan (marketed by Shionogi, according to wikipedia), but I don't know if it is generic or not, or if it requires a prescription.

David L. said...

From Yahoo answers:

The brand names of Loratadine in Japan include Claritin, Claritine, Clarityn, Clarityne or Fristamin and is marketed here by Shionogi. Be careful because Claritin-D has Pseudophedrine in it so it's illegal.

Manfred von Holstein said...

David, I think you mean OTC not generic (though all OTC products are by definition generic).

None of the modern anti-histamines are available OTC in Japan. The only second generation anti-histamine available OTC is Zaditen, and you can find it under its brand name in OTC pharmacies. Not as good as the more modern anti-histamines as it causes some drowsiness, but it will do the job, especially if dosed as if prescribed.

Alternatively, one can of course get anti-histamines prescribed by a doctor, and then everything available in the west is also available in Japan.

David L. said...

Thanks -- I did not know whether you could get this (or other antihistamines) OTC or not in Japan. Not sure it makes sense to have this require a prescription, since it does not make one nearly as drowsy as other antihistamines.

But I actually meant "generic" as I wrote, meaning one of the versions that appear from alternative sources of what started out as a patent-protected, branded version of a drug once the patents expire. I wrote "generic Claritin" because I could not remember the generic name, and that is what I have -- a bottle of loratadine antihistamine.

This also happens to be OTC (over the counter), i.e. no prescription required, in the U.S.

If the original Claritin made by Schering Plough is sold OTC, is it really "by definition generic"? I don't think so. In fact, with Claritin the drug went "off patent", permitting competitors to offer generic versions, at almost the same time that the FDA allowed it to be sold OTC, and without a higher dose version that would remain available by prescription only, so there were pretty bad financial consequences for Schering Plough, but OTC drugs are not, by definition, generic.

For the OTC/generic squeeze on Schering Plough in 2002, see: http://www.chelationtherapyonline.com/technical/p14.htm

Manfred von Holstein said...

You seem to be using a different definition of "generic" than myself, and most of the industry. Your definition of not being from the original manufacturer also exists, but commonly anything beyond LOE (loss of exclusivity) is considered "generic", irrespective of manufacturer/distributor. As far as I know, all major regulators will permit drugs (active ingredients) to go OTC only after LOE, not least because significant evidence of safety is required for them to feel comfortable. If you find an OTC drug with active ingredients still protected by a patent or otherwise, I would love to hear about them - would make for an interesting case study.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Let me join you guys at 8:15am or so at the usual place where I join the river. Tom may also join us at Koremasa.

TOM said...

Thanks David for the pre-ride shave advice in the kafun season. Never thought about that. I usually never shave during weekends but will now make that extra effort in the belief it will help reduce the probability that I catch kafun fever.

Interesting debate on generic. When, I'm interpreting, I mostly use the term ノーブランド薬品.

Sorry, I could not join yesterday - really had to catch up on sleep. How was that ride by the way?