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Preparation H is a brand of medications used in the treatment of hemorrhoids. It was originally packaged in a tube like toothpaste, with a similar consistency. Pfizer, the maker of Preparation H, has also released the product in a suppository form, which is not as popular as the cream.

Preparation H dates from about 1926. The company now named Wyeth was incorporated in 1926 as American Home Products, or AHP, and "one of AHP's earliest prizes was the acquisition of a sunburn oil in 1935 that the company transformed into Preparation H, which became one of the world's best-selling hemorrhoid treatments."[1] AHP changed its name to Wyeth in 2002. Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer in 2009.

Contents

Formulations

Preparation H products come in a variety of formulations. Some are water based gel; some are petroleum jelly based. They range from simple moisturizers with witch-hazel astringent to preparations containing pharmacological ingredients such as phenylephrine, pramoxine and hydrocortisone. Some also contain ingredients of uncertain properties such as aloe vera, shark liver oil and yeast extract.[2] Formulations available also vary with country.

Today the active ingredient in some Preparation H products is phenylephrine in a 0.25% concentration, a drug which constricts blood vessels. This drug is more commonly used as a decongestant in cold medications since restricting blood flow in the sinuses will reduce the amount of mucus they create. Since hemorrhoids are caused by inflamed blood vessels, this can reduce their size. Preparation H with hydrocortisone has only hydrocortisone as its active ingredient, in a 1% concentration. A witch hazel medicated wipe is also available under the Preparation H brand.

The Canadian formulation of Preparation H includes a yeast extract called BioDyne which has been removed from the formulation previously sold in the United States in 1995. This yeast extract is believed by many to remove wrinkles from skin and heal dry, cracked, and irritated skin. Thus the Canadian formulation has acquired a market in the United States as a skin cream.

The manufacturer of this active ingredient has subsequently marketed it to the cosmetic industry as an anti-wrinkle active.

In the 1960s Preparation H used the slogan "Effective even in cases of long standing". The current tagline is "I Should Have Used Preparation H", now a registered trademark.

Cultural references

In the film Austin Powers in Goldmember, Dr. Evil plots to build a tractor beam. His project is codenamed Preparation H, because Preparations "A" through "G" were failures.

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