Meftal painkiller linked to adverse reactions: What you need to know

The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) has issued a drug safety alert regarding the popular painkiller, Meftal. The alert highlights potential adverse reactions associated with the use of Meftal, urging healthcare professionals and patients to exercise caution and monitor any symptoms closely.

Meftal, also known as mefenamic acid, is commonly prescribed for the treatment of various conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, dysmenorrhoea, mild to moderate pain, inflammation, fever, and dental pain. However, a preliminary analysis of adverse drug reactions from the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) database has revealed cases of drug reactions with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) syndrome.

DRESS syndrome is a severe allergic reaction that can be triggered by certain medications, including Meftal. Symptoms may include skin rash, fever, lymphadenopathy, and involvement of internal organs. It typically manifests between two and eight weeks after taking the drug.

The IPC’s safety alert emphasises the importance of closely monitoring the possibility of adverse drug reactions associated with the use of Meftal. Healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers are advised to exercise vigilance and report any potential reactions promptly.

“Healthcare professionals, patients/consumers are advised to closely monitor the possibility of the above adverse drug reaction (ADR) associated with the use of the suspected drug,” according to the alert, issued on November 30.

If you experience any symptoms or suspect a potential adverse reaction, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. The IPC recommends reporting such incidents to the national coordination centre of the PvPI by filing a form on their website (www.ipc.gov.in) or using the ADR PvPI android mobile app. Alternatively, you can reach out to the PvPI helpline at 1800-180-3024 for further assistance.

While doctors emphasise that severe adverse reactions to Meftal are rare and already known, they stress the importance of responsible usage. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional before taking Meftal, ensuring the correct dosage and determining whether it is necessary for your specific condition.

Although the risk of adverse reactions varies from person to person, unregulated overuse of Meftal remains a concern. Despite being a prescription medication, it is widely used in India for various purposes, including relieving menstrual pains, headaches, muscle and joint pain. It is also prevalent among children for high fever. 

Meftal is available under different brand names such as Meftal, Mefkind, Mefanorm, and Ibuclin P. It shares similarities with medications like ibuprofen and aspirin.