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Inflammatory headlines

As soon as warnings hit the headlines about the NSAID diclofenac, Dr Livingstone knew he was in for a busy day

Two things struck me the morning that the ‘diclofenac killer drug' story hit the headlines. The first was that it was going to be a busy day – and I wasn't disappointed.


Before becoming the Evil Drug of Satan overnight, diclofenac was one of the nation's favourite NSAIDs, so we had a whole bunch of patients agitating themselves into angina attacks for fear that the drug would provoke, er, angina attacks.


So, obviously, they all phoned up – including those whose anxiety levels were not matched by their listening skills, hence me having a long and confusing conversation with someone panicking about his doxazosin on the basis of what he'd ‘heard' on the radio.


The second thought I had was: where now for OTC medication? Diclofenac's taken a battering and co-codamol comes with dire warnings that it'll turn you into a drooling, depraved junkie by day four.

It can only be a matter of time before we discover that ibuprofen causes brain tumours or shrinks your genitals or something


It can only be a matter of time before we discover that ibuprofen causes brain tumours or shrinks your genitals or something. Which will leave us, OTC-wise, with good old paracetamol – and whenever I recommend that particular analgesic to patients they look at me as if I've just broken wind.


Frankly, I've never thought much of copper bracelets for pain relief – but you'd better stock up, because, pretty soon, that's all we're going to have left. Are they safe, though?


Dr Livingstone is a real-life GP lost somewhere in the NHS jungle. A reluctant part of a GP commissioning consortia, he offers his slightly wry look at all things NHS. More from Dr Livingstone here.

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