Guide to Pharmacies and Drugstores in Germany

What English-speakers refer to as pharmacies are known as Apotheke or Apotheken (plural) in Germany.

You probably are aware of this word from it’s English adoption, apothecary, and this word is used is many languages the world over.

In all German cities at all times of the day, there are always at least two pharmacies open. It is usual to find a list of these pharmacies and their respective opening hours printed in both the local government/council-printed newspapers as well as the council website, which usually can be found by typing in www. followed by the name of the city, followed by .de (the German web domain).

When open, these pharmacies offer a complete sales and medical advice service, so you can go in for a pack of paracetamol as well as for advice on prescription drugs and what you should do about that bump on the arm etc.

Sometimes, the duty pharmacy is indicated by signs in their shop windows.

What you won’t hear about until you actually have ordered a product, is the out of hours gebuhr/service charge that they charge to cover their staff overtime pay. It usually consists of just a few Euro’s or so.

Normally, you will find somebody who can speak a little English in these shops but if you do not, unless you are stuck with the only shop on all night duty, my recommendation is that you move on to another shop.

The problems that might arise from a misunderstanding are just too bad to think about.

Be prepared for alternative medicines being recommended to you instead of what you really came in for, the German pharmacies are well-known for this and they love to sell you two items that sound nicer than the one you really wanted. It is a business after all. You may even be tempted to go back by the free stuff they give you with each purchase, perhaps pocket tissues with their address on them or throat losenges when you have a cough that they notice!

The names of drugs themselves are fairly similar to what you are familiar to in English. Aspirin is Apsirin and Paracetamol is Paracetamol, only the pronunciation is slightly different. Try writing down on a piece of paper what you want and maybe pronunciation problems can be avoided. But other names are not the same. So, for example, cough medicine is Hustensyrop – pronounced Hoo-sten-soo-rop.

The Differences Between Drug Addiction and Drug Dependence

When many people hear the terms drug addiction and drug dependence, they automatically assume the meaning is the same. The American Society of Addiction Medicine confirms that these two terms are not the same. In fact, in a clinical environment, not understanding the differences in these two terms can be detrimental to effectively treating substance abuse.

Drug addiction is characterized by a behavior disorder where a person’s primary motivation is using their drug of choice. All the addict thinks about is getting his hands on and taking the drug. Drug addiction also involves biological changes that directly affect the brain. Drug addiction can have devastating consequences in a person’s life. The obsession for drugs can lead to loss of a job, relationships, and legal troubles. Common signs of addiction may include:

* Drug seeking (trying to get the drug through illegal means like going to multiple pharmacies.
* Craving
* Obsession with getting the drug
* Non-conventional usage (using the drug for pleasure or to become intoxicated)
* Problems functioning with a normal routine (becoming less productive, missing appointments)
* Legal problems
* Relationship problems

Detoxification can help put an end to the physical need, but the psychological hold of a drug is one reason an addict is never actually “cured.” Maintaining sobriety is a challenging, ongoing process.

Drug dependence refers to a situation where a person becomes physiologically dependent on a drug and must take it in order to function normally. If they are unable to take the drug for a period of time, the person goes through what is commonly known as withdrawal symptoms signaling dependence. They include:

* Sweating
* Chills
* Aches
* Vomiting
* Diarrhea

Drug dependence can also become the cause of certain psychological problems. Anxiety, trouble concentrating, depression can also be symptoms of drug dependence.
It is possible for a drug to produce symptoms of drug dependence without addiction. Examples of this include steroids, medications for depression, blood pressure medication and antihistamines. You may experience withdrawal reactions when you stop taking them, but you won’t have an overpowering need to continue taking the drug. Likewise some individuals are more likely to become addicted to drugs than others based on biological and psychological factors as well as social influences.

Different drugs produce different physical effects, but the symptoms of addiction are the same. Drug addiction is a complex problem that requires proper treatment, support and the right tools to help you regain control and enjoy a happier, sober life.

How Do Pharmaceutical Drugs Get in Drinking Water? What Can You Do?

You’ve likely seen the headline by now, or one like it; “Probe finds drugs in drinking water”. Recent scientific research has indeed found a wide variety of pharmaceuticals in our water, from sedatives to painkillers, from sex hormones to antibiotics. There are a plethora of drugs in our water supply.

Are Small Doses of Pharmaceutical Drugs Really Harmful?

The question remains for many, “how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water?” While a small amount get into the water from runoff of pharmaceutical plants and flushed pills, the majority of the drugs actually come from human waste. When we swallow a pill, only a small portion of it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The remainder is sent through the digestive system and leaves our bodies as waste.

While the levels of drugs in our water is lower than the standard medical dose, we drink multiple glasses of water per day, thus maintaining low levels of these drugs in our blood almost constantly. This leads to an increased immunity to the effects of these drugs. This is especially dangerous when it comes to antibiotics.

What is MRSA?

While you have likely heard of MRSA, or medication resistant staph, you might not know that the antibiotics in our tap water are one of the three leading causes for the sudden rash of outbreaks of these infections. Due to increased tolerance for antibiotics, people are becoming unable to use antibiotics to fight off serious infection, which is dangerous and can be fatal. This is worst in children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems such as hospital patients.

Will a Water Filter Actually Protect Me From Drugs in the Water?

Because municipalities are unable to effectively do anything about this and do not even test for pharmaceuticals in the water, it is up to us to protect ourselves so that the next time we hear “Probe finds drugs in drinking water” we can breathe a little easier. The most effective and cost efficient solution is to purchase a home water filtering system. I personally recommend multi-stage units because they are the cheapest to purchase and offer water at a mere ten cents per gallon cost.

These units remove pharmaceuticals from water, as well as chemicals, lead, rust, and the chlorine that cities put in water to kill off certain bacteria. These multi-stage systems also leave in valuable trace minerals that the body needs. These minerals, such as magnesium and potassium are vital to maintaining health and should remain in our drinking water.

Question: Do You Know What is Coming Out of Your Water Faucet?

I hope this information serves to benefit you as much as it has done for me. Sometimes it comes in handy even to be able to answer the question ” how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water?” I know when I explain to visitors why my water tastes so much better than the city water, I often end up having to explain that there are drugs present in local water.

Last Question: What Are YOU Going To Do About It?

You have two choices: Do Nothing. Which is what most people do. Then complain everyday that they don’t feel very well. Or do this: Follow my recommendation.

In short, I recommend a multi-stage filter for virtually every home. The health benefits are immeasurable, and you will be helping to protect your family from the newest strains of superbugs, such as MRSA, that are afflicting millions of people worldwide. Look into this information and make an informed decision. I truly believe you will be just as alarmed as I was.