Diclofenac must only be available with prescription
Radjendra Ramautar, chairman of the Association of GD Physicians (VRA), on Thursday made it clear that it is very irresponsible for people to buy the strong painkiller diclofenac at local pharmacies without a prescription. “This medicine may only be purchased with a prescription because the physician can explain to the patients what the side effects are and if the patient could have an allergic reaction to certain ingredients.” Diclofenac may be linked with an increased risk of heart problems, a large Danish study suggests. Diclofenac is a non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) that’s often used to treat arthritis and other painful joint conditions. In many countries, it’s available without a prescription. Researchers found that the rate of firsttime cardiovascular events was 20 to 30 percent higher among people who started taking diclofenac than among people who started taking ibuprofen or naproxen, which are also NSAIDs, or paracetamol (acetaminophen). These events included heart attacks, development of an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, or death from heart problems. The rate of new heart problems was 50 percent higher for diclofenac users than for people who weren’t taking any painkillers. Diclofenac was also associated with an increased gastrointestinal bleeding risk.
Ramautar pointed out that most pharmacies sell diclofenac and that most patients prefer this painkiller because it is very effective against severe pains. The physician made it clear that this pill may only be used twice a day because like other medicines it also has side effects. “Diclofenac is prescribed by our physicians when the patient explains that other painkillers are not effective. That is why it must only be available with a prescription. It is wise to know how the patient reacts to this medicine. When things go wrong, the family doctor must intervene which is why it is wise to steer clear from illegal medicines. One must always consult a physician first.”