Spain bans painkiller for tourists

Health authorities in Spain have decided to ban the use of a common painkiller to tourists following the death of ten British tourists being linked to the drug.

Spain’s Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS) has reinforced its guidelines for prescribing the drug Nolotil to people holidaying in Spain.

The ban follows a campaign by Cristina Garcia del Campo, a medical translator in Alicante, who demanded an inquiry after she discovered a link between a number of British and Irish tourists who suffered blood poisoning when prescribed the drug.

An investigation confirmed that ten people had contracted agranulosis (also known as granulopenia) – an acute condition caused by a severe lowering of the white blood cell count after having been given the drug.

Nolotil’s manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim, claim the side effects are very rare only occurring in one person out of 10,000.  AEMPS, however, think that it might be more frequent among Britons due to a possible “genetic peculiarity”.

Nolotil has not been licensed for use in the USA, Britain and Sweden but is widely prescribed in Spain.

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