Popular painkiller linked to heart attack and stroke, PPB warns

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The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has warned Kenyans against prolonged use of Diclofenac as a painkiller without a prescription.

The board linked the popular painkiller to heart attacks as well as stroke.

In a statement on Friday, Fred Siyoi, CEO of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, said even though the benefits of diclofenac are greater than its risks, there are small risks of heart attack or stroke in patients taking the drug regularly.

Diclofenac is used to relieve pain as well as swelling and joint stiffness caused by arthritis.

This medication is known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

“Use of diclofenac is no longer recommended for patients with a history of a heart or brain or have heart failure, blockage to blood vessels to the heart attack or brain or have had an operation to clear or bypass such blockages, or circulatory problems that restrict blood flow to your limbs,” Siyoi said.

For those who smoke or those who have high blood cholesterol and diabetes, they’ve been urged to seek a doctor’s prescription before using diclofenac.

“If you are on long term diclofenac treatment, you will need to have your treatment reviewed to ensure that it is still safe for you,” the CEO said.

He also noted that diclofenac should only be dispensed or used upon prescription by a duly qualified healthcare professional.

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