HEALTH CHIEFS ACT OVER METAMIZOLE
Promise to protect ‘at risk’ expat groups from drug danger
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.
“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