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

A BRITISH expat who was prescribed Nolotil for several years has claimed she ‘would be dead’ if it weren’t for her Spanish grandad. 

“I always have a craft project on the go. Painting, needlework, you name it,” said 74-year-old Sheila Ann Hutchings. 

Sheila Ann Hutchings moved to Murcia over 18 years ago to enjoy life in the sun. Photo: The Olive Press

READ MORE: What is Nolotil? The painkiller sold in Spain that’s been linked to dozens of British deaths

So when she moved from the Lake District to Los Arcos, Murcia in 2006, the expat quickly joined a craft group. 

It was there that her life suddenly changed in October 2022. 

“I realised that I was losing interest in my projects. I just didn’t want to do them. 

“Then, one day I was with my crafting friends and bruises started appearing in front of my eyes. I was covered in them,” she told The Olive Press. 

Despite loved ones urging her to seek medical attention, it wasn’t until two days later that she would finally go to the doctors for blood tests. 

Within hours she received a chilling phone call telling her: “Don’t ask why, just go to the hospital now.” 

She was immediately put into isolation, where she spent a ‘terrifying’ week ‘not knowing what was wrong.’ 

Eventually, doctors revealed she had been suffering agranulocytosis.

Sheila said: “The doctors told me my white blood cells had hit the deck because of Nolotil and if I hadn’t gone to hospital right then, I would have been in a desperate state because I also have a heart condition.” 

READ MORE: What should I do if I’ve been given Nolotil in Spain? A guide for British and other northern Europeans on dealing with the ‘lethal’ painkiller

The expat had been taking Nolotil ‘for years’ to manage pain caused by degenerative arthritis.

She believes the only reason why she wasn’t affected sooner was her Spanish heritage. 

The Lake District native credits her Spanish grandad with her survival at the hands of the deadly drug. 

Nolotil is known to cause agranulocytosis in people of Northern European descent, leading to lethal side effects like gangrene, sepsis and organ failure. 

However, the drug is Spain’s most popular painkiller as Spaniards do not experience the negative side effects. 

In spite of her trauma, Sheila laughed: “If it doesn’t kill you, it’s a very good painkiller.” 

The Murcia based expat was prescribed the drug for years despite a 2018 directive by the Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS) advising doctors to not give Nolotil to Northern European patients. 

After her brush with death in 2022, she claims many expats are still being offered the drug. 

“I have at least three friends who’ve refused Nolotil in the past few months because I have warned them.

“It’s dangerous because we’re all living abroad and we don’t know what their medications can do. Nolotil helped me with my pain for a long time until it almost killed me.”

Although she has experienced no long term side effects as a result of the drug, Sheila wants to see more controls to be put on Nolotil. 

She backed the latest Olive Press campaign urging doctors to follow the 2018 regulations, which, if followed, would have prevented her near death experience. 

If you agree, sign our petition here.

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

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