HEALTH CHIEFS ACT OVER METAMIZOLE

Prom­ise to pro­tect ‘at risk’ ex­pat groups from drug dan­ger

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Troughton

SHOCKED health chiefs have promised to act over the con­tro­ver­sial painkiller metamizole to pro­tect ex­pats – in­clud­ing Bri­tons – from 'hor­rific' and po­ten­tially fa­tal side ef­fects.

Com­monly used in Spain, peo­ple with An­glo Saxon and Scan­di­na­vian her­itage are at

an in­creased risk from de­vel­op­ing com­pli­ca­tions when tak­ing a ‘go to’ anal­gesic fre­quently used post-op­er­a­tively, af­ter den­tal treat­ment, or in the home.

How­ever, mem­bers of cer­tain ge­netic back­grounds ap­pear to have an in­creased vul­ner­a­bil­ity to de­vel­op­ing agran­u­lo­cy­to­sis, a sud­den and

some­times cat­a­strophic plunge in in­fec­tion-bust­ing white blood cells.

A file con­tain­ing hun­dreds of cases of ex­pats from these groups was de­liv­ered to AEMPS in Madrid last Fri­day; the file how peo­ple have de­vel­oped a dan­ger­ous sep­sis – re­sult­ing in death, am­pu­ta­tions fol­low­ing gan­grene, and a life-

chang­ing reliance on drugs.

A file con­tain­ing hun­dreds of cases of ex­pats from these groups was de­liv­ered to AEMPS in Madrid last Fri­day; the file how peo­ple have de­vel­oped a dan­ger­ous sep­sis – re­sult­ing in death, am­pu­ta­tions fol­low­ing gan­grene, and a lifechang­ing reliance on drugs

Med­i­cal trans­la­tor Cristina Gar­cia del Campo went to the pow­er­ful Agencía Es­pañola de Medica­men­tos y Pro­duc­tos San­i­tar­ios armed with 'hun­dreds and hun­dreds' of cases il­lus­trat­ing the dan­ger of Metamizole, seen as a per­fectly safe painkiller in Spain – where it is com­monly avail­able as Nolotil but has dozens of brand names – and is banned in other coun­tries in­clud­ing Bri­tain, the United States and Scan­di­navia.

The Jávea-based cam­paigner took up the case af­ter the mys­te­ri­ous death of a client and be­gan col­lect­ing ev­i­dence. She has col­lected the thick file of cases from across Spain and the UK, in­clud­ing med­i­cal re­ports con­tain­ing records of com­pli­ca­tions di­ag­nos­ing 'agran­u­lo­cy­to­sis due to Metamizole'.

Cristina was also backed by a warn­ing is­sued by Dé­nia Hospi­tal to med­i­cal teams across the Ma­rina Alta ad­vis­ing an al­ter­na­tive anal­gesic should be con­sid­ered be­cause of the risks to these ex­pat groups – the hospi­tal is also con­duct­ing its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion and look­ing at 100,000 cases over the last five years.

She had a 90 minute meet­ing at the head­quar­ters of AEMPS in the Span­ish cap­i­tal, which al­lowed to put her case and an­swer ques­tions from a four-strong panel of se­nior mem­bers.

Dam­ag­ing

“To be hon­est, I feel they were very wor­ried be­cause the side ef­fects could be so dam­ag­ing,” Cristina told CB­News. “Peo­ple don’t seem to re­alise how se­ri­ous the side ef­fects can be, it is only when they make the link (between the drug) and these re­ports they went ‘oh, my God!’

“I be­lieve AEMPS were re­ally shocked and they kept look­ing at each other and said they had missed some­thing.”

Cristina said she was thanked for all her work and the in­for­ma­tion she pro­vided. “I don’t think they re­alised how bad it was.”

And she said the panel was re­ally re­cep­tive and un­der­stand­ing. “They said they are def­i­nitely go­ing to do some­thing about it, to in­sure Bri­tish peo­ple and at risk groups are not given this med­i­ca­tion in Spain.

“They will try to think how to go about it and make sure they send out the cor­rect mes­sage, how to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion but they said ‘ you can be sure we will act, we

will stop this be­ing given to at risk peo­ple’.

“I am very con­fi­dent some­thing pos­i­tive will hap­pen... more than that, I am quite cer­tain! AEMPS will make sure it’s not given to this at risk pop­u­la­tion, you can­not go any higher with this and I came out very re­as­sured – they now have the con­nec­tion between metamizole and the side ef­fects.”

Mean­while Cristina’s re­search con­tin­ues as peo­ple

who have taken the painkiller and their fam­i­lies send her in­for­ma­tion.

She said she was also be­ing con­tacted by mem­bers of the in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal world from as far away as Aus­tralia and Cal­i­for­nia

“And I have been con­tacted by pro­fes­sional med­i­cal trans­la­tors, they are very proud this has all been done by a med­i­cal trans­la­tor,” she added.

Cristina out­side the AEMPS build­ing in Madrid

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