Death of British tourist in Spain raises the alarm over use of Nolotil

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The death of a British tourist in Spain has caused concern over the drug Nolotil, known as Metamizol. According to a medical report viewed by The Observer, there was talk of an “apparent allergic reaction to Metamizol.

The Asociación de Afectados por Fármacos (ADAF), an organisation representing the interests of those affected by medication, has warned of the risk of a deadly condition called agranulocytosis, which causes a decrease in white blood cells.

The case of Mark Brooks

Mark Brooks, a British tourist on the Costa Blanca, received a Metamizol injection after visiting a medical clinic for shoulder pain caused by playing golf. Two days after the injection, he was admitted to the Torrevieja hospital due to a reduction in his white blood cells, as reported by The Guardian. His condition quickly deteriorated in the hospital, and he was transferred to intensive care with the failure of several organs. Brooks died five days after the injection. According to a medical report viewed by The Observer, there was talk of an “apparent allergic reaction to Metamizol.”

Nolotil and British tourists

This incident is the latest in a series of deaths among British and Irish residents in Spain, which may be related to the use of Nolotil. Following ADAF’s warning, many Britons have become wary of this drug, with some even refusing to use it. Notably, Metamizol is banned in the UK as well as in other countries such as the United States and Australia. It is suspected that Brits may be at greater risk of side effects from this drug, possibly due to genetic factors.

ADAF’s accusation

ADAF has been drawing attention for years to the consequences of using Nolotil. They claim to have identified 350 cases of agranulocytosis between 1996 and 2023. Of these, 170 were British nationals residing in or vacationing in Spain. Therefore, on November 14, ADAF filed a complaint with the Ministry of Health and the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products over the “potentially lethal” effects of Metamizol.

Differing medical standards across borders

Metamizole’s adverse reactions can be severe, leading to conditions that some patients initially mistook for cancer. This situation has raised significant concerns among patient groups and health advocates. The drug’s use in Spain contrasts starkly with its ban in other countries. Consequently, underlining the differing medical standards and regulations across borders.

Metamizole was first produced in Germany in 1922. It was was available worldwide until it was found there was a risk of it causing agranulocytosis. Consequenly, it was withdrawn in around 30 countries. However, it is still widely available across the EU.

Also read: Major concerns over Nolotil use among British citizens in Spain

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