December 2, 2022

France limits sales to two boxes per patient

France limits paracetamol sales to two boxes per patient, including for the Doliprane and Efferalgan brands, due to persistent stock shortages.

Patients without a GP prescription will be limited to two boxes.

The recommendation comes from the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM), due to persistent shortages of the drug.

The ANSM also calls on patients, pharmacists and doctors to reduce their dependence on the drug unless it is the only option.

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Paracetamol is better known as Doliprane and Efferalgan in France. It is one of the most widely sold non-prescription drugs in the country.

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In a press release, the ANSM specifies: “As the winter season approaches, and the resumption of the Covid epidemic, the College of General Medicine (CMG) and the pharmacists’ unions (FSPF and USPO) have formulated their recommendations for modifying the use of paracetamol, and allowing patients who have immediate use to benefit from it first.

She adds: “When the situation allows, take a dose three times a day every eight hours (instead of a dose four times a day every six hours)”, adds the ANSM.

She also asked patients not to “stock up on paracetamol if you don’t need it immediately”, and advised that the pharmacist “may dispense less paracetamol than what is indicated on your prescription; it is a dispensation that has been adapted to [our recommendations]”.

The ANSM also reminded patients that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, should not be used as a replacement for paracetamol “in case of pain and/or fever”… especially in children. NSAIDs are also contraindicated – not recommended – from the sixth month of pregnancy.

Some of the more common NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. This contrasts with paracetamol, which is an analgesic and antipyretic (analgesic and antipyretic).

The agency added that a “quantitative quota” of paracetamol has been in place for the supply of city pharmacies since July 2022. The supply has been “under pressure” since then.

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