Britons In Spain More At Risk From Commonly Prescribed Painkiller

Drug Side Effect: More Brits Susceptible Than Spaniards

Image of prescription drugs. Credit: Kimberley Boyles/

Can a common painkiller pose a deadly threat? This question looms large in the wake of a recent lawsuit filed against Spain by an association representing victims.

The lawsuit claims the prescription of Nolotil, an analgesic drug, has caused life-threatening side effects, particularly in British patients, according to a report in Telecinco.

The Onset Of A Serious Condition

In 2018, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) noted a concerning trend. They found an unusually high number of agranulocytosis cases, especially among British patients.

Agranulocytosis is a grave blood disorder which is potentially fatal, resulting from a drastic drop in white blood cells that fight infections. This condition, triggered by Nolotil consumption, makes individuals highly susceptible to infections.

A Granulocyte Deficiency

Granulocytes, a key type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow, play a critical role in combating infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. When granulocytes are scarce, the body’s ability to fend off infections is severely compromised. This scarcity, known as agranulocytosis, renders the body vulnerable to illnesses.

Genetic Susceptibility And Statistical Insights

The disease’s uneven distribution across populations is a puzzle. Studies to determine whether specific ethnic groups are more at risk have been inconclusive.

However, a five-year study by the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella revealed startling statistics. Figures show that two-thirds of agranulocytosis patients were foreigners, with a significant one-third being British.

Global Responses To Nolotil Risks

Nolotil, also known as metamizole, has been linked by ADAF to over 350 suspected cases of agranulocytosis, with 170 involving British citizens.

Despite its popularity as a painkiller, countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan have banned its sale due to these health risks. Conversely, in Spain, it remains prescribed, as fewer cases are reported nationally.

This imbalance in susceptibility raises serious concerns about the safety of Nolotil, especially for certain populations. The ongoing legal battle and the alarming statistics from Spain underline the need for doctor – patient awareness.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.