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Pharmacy board raises red flag on Diclofenac use

[Mr IJulius Kaluai (Centre) with other PPB officials addressing journalists in Mombasa. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has warned the public against the use of Diclofenac medicine citing blood clots risks.

Diclofenac a tablet that costs between Ksh.5 and Ksh.10 is largely used  for relieving pain and inflammation and in most cases it is used to relieve joint pains.

According to the PPB, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) as a class, if used at high dose and for long periods, are associated with an increased risk of blood clots in the arteries especially in patients with underlying heart or circulatory conditions or with certain cardiovascular risk factors, which in some cases has led to heart attack or stroke.

However, the board noted that diclofenac has its benefits.

The Board further noted that there is a small risk of heart attack or stroke in patients taking systemic diclofenac regularly, especially at high doses (150 mg daily) and for long periods.

“Smokers or individuals with other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes that doctors will need to examine if they should use the drug and the best way to take it,” read part of the statement.

For those on long-term diclofenac treatment, the Pharmacy Board noted that they will need to have their treatment reviewed to ensure that it is still right for them, this is by speaking to their doctors.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board is mandated under the Pharmacy and Poisons Act (Cap 244) to disseminate information on medical products to health professionals and to the public in order to promote their rational use.