Monday, 1 July 2013

Diclofenac. Too dangerous but still on sale

Diclofenac is a NSAID painkiller, launched in Britain in about 1993, that has been found to cause heart attacks, and banned by the MHRA in June 2013 - at least for patients with heart problems. As usual, this ban took a long time, even though all NSAID drugs have been linked with heart disease for many years. This has been one of the few such drugs that has faced even a partial banned. Vioxx is another. And, as far as I am aware, the drug is still available elsewhere in the world, and clearly, is still available in Britain for those patients who do not have heart problems!

The dangers of Diclofenac have been known about for many years. In June 2005 a BBC article outlined ‘Safety doubts for more painkillers’. This referred to all NSAID painkillers, and within the article there is a comment that “enough concern exists to warrant a consideration of the cardiovascular safety of all NSAIDs”. However, it took the drug regulatory system a further 8 years to act on Diclofenac, whilst other NSAID painkillers are still being given to patients. After the ban was announced (June 2013) I checked the Wikipedia website, and it still  had this to say about Diclofenac.

          “Diclofenac is among the better-tolerated NSAIDs. Though 20% of patients on long-term treatment experience side effects, only 2% have to discontinue the drug, mostly due to gastrointestinal complaints

Other internet websites that described the ‘side-effects’ of Diclofenac also failed to give clear warnings that the drug caused heart attacks, and were content to repeat this bland ‘well-tolerated’ assurance.

This is quite typical. Most drugs are known to be dangerous for many years before they are banned, and prior to the ban patients are told little about the dangers, but plenty of re-assurances about their safety! 

The Daily Mail reported the problems in September 2011, but even then added “Don’t stop taking the pills, but do talk to your doctor”.

An Asian vulture seemed to have been treated better than human patients! Diclofenac is used for veterinary purposes, and in India its manufacture was banned for cattle as it was killing a rare species of Asian vulture! Even this did not appear to suggest to the Conventional Medical Establishment that Diclofenac might be a dangerous drug! The withdrawal of the drug in India did, however, lead to the recovery of the vulture. This was happening in 2009 - 4 years prior to the current ban.

The ban on Diclofenac was announced by the BBC, a media organisation which has a long history of relaying news of conventional ‘medical breakthroughs’, but rarely about medical catastrophies like this. So I searched on the internet to see what they had been telling us about this drug. 


* May 2013. BBC article refers to ‘common painkiller’ that ‘poses heart risks’ on the basis of an article published in the Lancet.


So, like most of the mainstream media, they have been well aware of the problems associated with Diclofenac, but rather than warning us, they have relied almost entirely on what they are told by the conventional medical establishment. Our Media appears to have little stomach for investigative journalism when it comes to exposing dangerous drugs!

This puts us all at risk. Known drug dangers are kept secret by the conventional medical establishment. And the Media is not prepared to ask serious questions about the dangers caused by pharmaceutical drugs or vaccines.

What this means is that no patient, at any time, can be satisfied that any current drug or vaccine (Diclofenac was a ‘current drug’ even for people with heart conditions until the MHRA announcement) is safe.


Thanks to Vijay Vaishnav for this additional information on Diclofenac - sent to me via Facebook. Clearly the dangers of Big Pharma drugs go further than the damage caused to human populations.

          "Doclofenac can also indirectly affect human health because of the ecological disturbance it causes. For example, use of diclofenac in animals has been reported to have led to a sharp decline in the vulture population in the Indian Subcontinent, a 95% decline in 2003, 99.9% decline as of 2008. The mechanism is, it is presumed, renal failure, a known side effect of diclofenac. Vultures eat the carcasses of livestock that have been administered veterinary diclofenac, and are poisoned by the accumulated chemical, as vultures do not have a particular enzyme to break down diclofenac. 

          "The loss of tens of millions of vultures over the last decade has had major ecological consequences across the Indian Subcontinent that pose a potential threat to human health. In many places, populations of feral dogs (Canis familiaris) have increased sharply from the disappearance of Gyps vultures as the main scavenger of wild and domestic ungulate carcasses. Associated with the rise in dog numbers is an increased risk of rabies and casualties of almost 50,000 people. A major shift in transfer of corpse pathogens from vultures to feral dogs and rats can lead to a disease pandemic causing millions of deaths in a crowded country like India; whereas vultures' digestive systems safely destroy many species of such pathogens. 


          "Diclofenac has been shown also to harm freshwater fish species such as rainbow trout. (Wikipedia)

P.S.  Diclofenac might have been banned by the MHRA, but it is still sold as Voltarol, and still advertised on television (January 2014). And on Voltarol's website you can search in vain for any mention of the known dangers.