The Ministry of Health has ordered local pharmacies to stop selling pain-killers that contain doxtroproroxyphene, following international reports that the drugs lead to increase in heart diseases and heart failures.
Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) pharmacy manager, Thatayaone Didimalang, confirmed that drugs that contain doxtroproxyphene have side effects when taken in the long run.
He stated that such pain killers can cause cardiac arrhythmia, which also affects the human heart. He said that in Botswana the drug was discontinued at the beginning of the year as per directive by the government.
Didimalang said that synap forte, lentogesic and doxyfene are some of the pain killers that contain dextroproxyphene.
“Medicines often get discontinued, especially new ones after the side effects on patients emerge,” said Didimalang.
He added that clinical trials are done first before the drugs are recommended, adding that a lot of people overdose on the pain killers and there were many reported cases linked with heart failure.
Another Gaborone-based pharmacist, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that their pharmacy received notifications at the beginning of the year to withdraw synapforte and lentogesic pain relievers from their stock.
He said the cancellation has been done worldwide, having started in Europe, South Africa and Botswana.
He said people continued to look for such pain killers from pharmacists. He also confirmed that his pharmacy took the order from the government and cancelled availability of all pain killers that contain doxtroproxyphene.
Meanwhile, internationally, the pharmaceutical supplier company, Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd, said in a statement that it will appeal a decision by the Medicines Control Council to withdraw the registration of dextropropoxyphene – containing medicines from the South African market.
The government Clinical Services Division could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.