Risky painkillers to be withdrawn

Medicines containing dextropropoxyphene are being withdrawn from the New Zealand market after a review showed their risks outweighed their possible benefits.

The medicines containing it are analgesics used to treat chronic moderate pain. There are two approved for use in New Zealand - Paradex tablets and Capadex capsules.

The Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee (Marc), which advises the Minister of Health on medicines safety issues, found they were no better at treating pain than taking full-dose paracetamol. They could cause extra side-effects to those caused by paracetamol used at recommended doses, and were dangerous in overdose, or if taken with alcohol.

Medsafe group manager Stewart Jessamine said withdrawal would be gradual to allow time for the transfer of patients to alternative treatments.


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