Have you been affected by Nolotil? Email us: tips@theolivepress.es

THE Olive Press recently revealed that campaigners are launching an official complaint with Spain’s public prosecution office after a 42-year old British expat, Mark Brooks, died after taking the painkiller Nolotil.

But what is Nolotil, the drug at the centre of controversy and potentially linked to the deaths of over 40 British and Irish expats in Spain?

Nolotil is the Spanish brand name for the drug Metamizole, a commonly-prescribed painkiller which was first available in Germany in 1922.

The drug is used to relieve muscular pain, reduce inflammation and treat fever.

Mark Brooks died after being prescribed Nolotil following complaints of shoulder pain whilst playing golf.

Nolotil in Spain is made by German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim, the largest private pharmaceutical company in the world. 

The painkiller is immensely popular worldwide – it is the most commonly prescribed painkiller in Germany, the most popular medication in Brazil, and over 22 million Nolotil boxes were sold in 2020 in Spain alone.

However, it is banned in 40 countries across the world – including the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and France – due to its adverse side effects.

It can cause a potentially fatal condition known as agranulocytosis, which reduces white blood cell levels, increasing the risk of infection, sepsis, and even organ failure.

The Association of Drug Affected Patients (ADAF) have identified 350 suspected cases of agranulocytosis between 1996 and 2023, including 170 Brits who either live in Spain or were on holiday.

Campaigner Cristina del Campo with a box of ‘lethal’ painkiller Nolotil

A 2009 study suggested that British and Irish patients were more susceptible to the serious adverse effects of the drug, potentially due to genetics. 

Following a campaign by the Olive Press and tireless work by medical campaigner Cristina del Campo, head of the ADAF, a directive from the Spanish government in 2018 recommended that all health facilities should only give out Nolotil on prescription, and avoid prescribing it for British and Irish tourists.

Have you been affected by Nolotil? Email us: tips@theolivepress.es

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