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BMJ Study Claims painkiller ban reduced suicides

19 Jun 09

According to a study in the BMJ, the removal of the licence for the pain killer drug co-proxamol in 2007 resulted in significant reduction in suicide - particularly accidental. Over the 2 year period where its prescription was phased out in the UK, there were 295 fewer suicides and 349 fewer deaths from the drug including accidental overdoses.


Co-proxamol is a combination of paracetamol and an opioid drug (dextropropoxyphene), and is now only available on a "named patient basis".


A spokesman for the MHRA said "Co-proxamol is extremely dangerous in overdose - only a small overdose can be fatal, and death can occur very rapidly - before medical attention can be sought."


However, Federico Moscogiuri, head of policy and campaigns at Arthritis Care, said many people who used to be prescribed co-proxamol were now struggling to control their pain, as they had not found an effective alternative.


"For them, co-proxamol makes the difference between being able to perform simple everyday activities and living in chronic, debilitating pain.

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