Govt Warns Against Overusing This Popular Painkiller

  • A pharmacist attending to his store
    A pharmacist attending to his store
    File
  • The Ministry of Health through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has raised an alarm over the misuse of Diclofenac, one of the most popular painkillers in the country. 

    In a statement released on Friday, May 20, the board noted that the public was overusing the Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) for pain management. 

    It underlined that Diclofenac if used at a high dose and for long periods, is associated with an increased risk of blood clots in the arteries, especially in patients with underlying heart or circulatory conditions or with certain cardiovascular risk factors. 

    Ministry of Health's Afya House Building in Nairobi, Kenya.
    Ministry of Health's Afya House Building in Nairobi, Kenya.
    Twitter

    “In some cases, it has led to heart attack or stroke.

    “Diclofenac is a widely used medicine for relieving pain and inflammation, particularly in painful conditions such as arthritis. Overall, the benefits of diclofenac are greater than its risks,” PPB warned. 

    The board further cautioned as follows;

    Individuals using high doses (150 mg daily) and for long periods are at risk of suffering a heart attack and stroke. 

    The drug is no longer recommended for patients with a history of heart attack or stroke, heart failure, blockages to blood vessels to the heart or brain or have had an operation to clear or bypass such blockages, or circulatory problems that restrict blood flow to your limbs. 

    Doctors ought to assess the risks before prescribing the drug to individuals who smoke or have other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, or diabetes.

    “If you are on long-term Diclofenac treatment, you will need to have your treatment reviewed to ensure that it is still right for you. 

    “You are advised to speak to your prescriber at your next scheduled appointment,” the Ministry advised. 

    Medicine seized by Pharmacy and Poisons Board inspectors in a crackdown on illegal pharmacies held in Nairobi on january 22,2021
    Medicine seized by Pharmacy and Poisons Board inspectors in a crackdown on illegal pharmacies held in Nairobi on january 22,2021
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    The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) as well advised the public against self-medication with painkillers. 

    “If you have any questions, speak with your healthcare professional.

    "The Board advises the public against self-medicating especially on Diclofenac. Diclofenac should only be dispensed or used upon prescription by a duly qualified healthcare professional.” 

    The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) is mandated under the Pharmacy and Poisons Act (Cap 244) to disseminate information on medical products to health professionals and to the public in order to promote their rational use. 

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