Doctors warn Swedes are abusing painkillers

Doctors warn Swedes are abusing painkillers
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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