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Doctors warn Swedes are abusing painkillers

Doctors warn Swedes are abusing painkillers

Published: 17 Jan 2013 07:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Jan 2013 07:52 GMT+01:00

Since the Swedish government reformed the pharmacy system three years ago, Swedes are popping paracetemol-based painkillers like never before, warn doctors working with overdose and accidental poisoning cases.

"This development is worrying, we have to take action," Mark Personne, medical head of the Poisons Information Centre (Giftinformationscentralen) told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

"There is a link to increased availability."

His agency is so worried about the trend that they have written to the Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) to ask that they take action.

In 2012, the Poisons Information Centre received 3,296 calls from Swedes who had taken too many painkillers, compared to 2,583 cases in 2010. It represents a hike of 28 percent.

Paracetemol-based painkillers in Swede go under trademarks such as Alvedon, Reliv and Panodil.

An overdose will not kill the person immediately, but cause irreversible liver damage that can be fatal.

Availability has increased, with painkillers for sale in normal supermarkets and cornershops. The reform three years ago aimed at opening up the pharmacy market to private actors.

Personne thinks the government should review availability, he told Dagens Nyheter.

TT/The Local/at

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Your comments about this article

08:55 January 17, 2013 by EtoileBrilliant
Please no! What a step backwards! 5 years ago, if you had a feverish child and the only thing you had in your medicine cabinet was out of date Calpol you were stumped.

At least you can now get medicines in emergency. from ICA. I love Sweden but I don't understand why the government doesn't trust its populace when it comes to medicine and alcohol.

Oh and don't get me started about the price/availability of 75mg "one a day" aspirin.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/opinion/the-2000-year-old-wonder-drug.html?_r=0
11:17 January 17, 2013 by Beavis
anyone from outside Sweden knows this is a crock of sh... the tablets/liquids available are very watered down versions of what available in the rest of the planet over the counter. as stated above it would be an extremely dangerous step back. consider the waiting times for doctosrs (public and private) and the poor quality of vard support staff you will have a lot of people getting seriously sick (especailly children) for no reason. If some people are stupid enough to abuse the pills, let them- thats their issue, they will find a way to do it regadless (just pop on a plane, train boat and buy loads in a neighbouring country.
15:59 January 17, 2013 by karex
The difference is: people who were sick before and had to wait a week or more to get any painkiller from a Dr. - and half the time are starting to feel better by the time they actually manage to see a Dr. - can now relieve their misery when actually needed. Besides, when people finally did manage to see a Dr. 9 times out of 10 all they did was pump the patients full of Alvedon and send them home anyway...
16:28 January 17, 2013 by johan rebel
The Swedish nanny state strikes again! Must be the only country in the world pupulated exclusively with inhabitants congenitally incapable of leading their lives without 24/7 couseling and pampering.
18:11 January 17, 2013 by anniegother
For years while living in the US I avoided "tylenol" like the plague because It is so toxic in large doses. And I had access to aspirin and ibruprophen products at a reasonable price. However, I started having stomach bleeding which is common with these types of drugs and Swedish doctors all preferred that I switch to Alvadon. The maximum doses are very clear on the packaging and using this as directed has helped me cut down on the other medications. When I need something more suitable for inflammation I take a medication which protects my stomach daily until my pain is managed. Being a responsible patient is just as important as being a responsible parent, driver, employee, etc. The problem is not increased availability. The consumer benefits if they act responsibly.
14:32 January 19, 2013 by shinnam
Paracetemol is NOT a "safe" pain killer, eapecially by Sweds. It is a metabolite of a carcinogen, phenacetin. There are studies that indicate it cause liver damage if taken with alchol , but also if taken by pregant women it can cause asthma and infertility in the unborn child. I wouldn't be supried if it is taken from the market in a few years.

If you are tryin to prevent or cure a hangover, take an asprin.
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