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Internet painkillers warning

5th December 2008

Experts have warned of the dangers of buying drugs online.


It follows a study by a team from Edinburgh University highlighting the wide availability of strong painkillers over the internet.

Their findings, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found more than 100 websites selling medicines and there were 35 websites selling prescription-only pain drugs to UK customers without requiring a valid prescription.

Drugs available included opioids such as tramadol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as naproxen and celecoxib which are routinely prescribed for conditions such as arthritis.

However, such drugs have side effects.

One drug removed from the UK market because of concerns over the risk of overdose, co-proxamol, was offered by three websites.

Study author Professor David Webb, who is an expert in clinical pharmacology at the university, said these were drugs that people should not be taking without advice from a doctor, but were available with a couple of clicks of the mouse.

"We were surprised at how many sites you could go to and find, in some cases, quite potent painkillers that have addictive potential and that you could get them without prescription," he said.

While regulators are aware of the problem, it is not one that can be easily managed.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency point out that while the sale of prescription only medicines without a proper patient consultation was illegal it was not illegal to buy medicines online.

Customers are advised to look for approved websites with a Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain internet pharmacy logo.


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Article Information

Title: Internet painkillers warning
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9473
Date Added: 5th Dec 2008


BBC News

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