Think Before You Pop That Meftal Pill Painkiller
NEW DELHI: The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission’s alert on the commonly used painkiller Meftal should be taken seriously and the drug should be consumed only under medical advice and supervision. The IPC on Thursday issued an alert about the drug with mefenamic acid as the primary ingredient which is commonly used to treat menstrual cramps and rheumatoid arthritis, saying it could produce some serious adverse reactions including drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS).
According to Dr Shivaranjani Santosh, a senior paediatrician, while Meftal is commonly prescribed to women to provide relief from menstrual cramps, and for arthritis, the real danger “in this part of the country is in the drug’s abuse among children. It is most widely prescribed to control fever in children under 14 years of age as Meftagesic, a combination with paracetamol.
This combination, as the cumulative dosage increases, can lead to seizures and induce vomiting in children. But there is no regulation, no studies on how this is prescribed and used in children. It is very common to see the combination drug being prescribed callously saying it should be taken thrice a day.”
She said what makes it even worse is that Meftagesic, though to be sold only through a doctor’s prescription, “just like many other restricted drugs, it is sold freely as an over the counter medicine. Prolonged use, or unsupervised excessive use can even result in gastritis and kidney damage,” she said.