Govt issues health alert on common painkiller Meftal: ‘Can trigger adverse reactions’

On Thursday, the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) issued a cautionary notice regarding the widely used pain reliever Meftal. The advisory stressed the importance of consulting a doctor before consuming the drug, citing its mefenamic acid content, which may lead to adverse reactions such as DRESS syndrome. Meftal is a commonly prescribed remedy for menstrual cramps and rheumatoid arthritis.

Healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers were urged in the advisory to vigilantly monitor the potential adverse drug reactions associated with Meftal usage. Individuals were also encouraged to report any adverse reactions to the national coordination center of the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) through the website or by using the Android mobile applications ADR PvPI and PvPI Helpline No. 1800-180-3024.

The IPC\’s alert responds to the increasing prevalence of Meftal as a commonplace pain reliever in households, with individuals often using it without due caution to alleviate muscle and joint pain.

Meftal primarily contains Mefenamic acid, a pain-relieving agent utilized for alleviating muscle and joint pain, as well as menstrual pain. It has also demonstrated efficacy in addressing sore throats, nerve pain, and muscle aches.

Concerning DRESS Syndrome, the advisory underscored the potential risk associated with Meftal usage. DRESS syndrome is a severe and distinctive idiosyncratic reaction to medication, characterized by a protracted onset period. It has been linked to various medications, including abacavir, allopurinol, and lamotrigine. Symptoms typically encompass fever, skin rash, lymphadenopathy, eosinophilia, and a spectrum of systemic manifestations. Dr. Sidhant Goel from The Hans Foundation, Nalagarh, emphasized the considerable life-threatening risk posed by DRESS syndrome, estimating a mortality rate of approximately 10%. Antiepileptic medications like phenytoin and Phenobarbital are commonly associated with DRESS syndrome, with an incidence rate of around 1 per 5,000 to 10,000 exposures.

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