Indian Medical Association (IMA) today asked people to desist from using common painkillers like Aspirin and Paracetamol for pain and fever management saying they could cause more harm than good if taken without medical supervision. The IMA today issued guidelines on the safety and efficacy of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or painkillers in an attempt to clear misconceptions.
It also opposed the Government's move to allow AYUSH doctors to prescribe over the counter (OTC) painkillers like aspirin and paracetamol. NSAIDs suppress pain by inhibiting the enzyme cyclo -oxygenase and reducing synthesis of prostaglandins, which promote the inflammatory process.
Since a few years, NSAIDs have been under constant scrutiny and criticism due to their alleged negative effects on the liver, kidney and heart. "The Indian Medical Association is of the view that it is not right to classify certain NSAIDs safe and others as unsafe for they all have different functions and if used for the right duration, they can be extremely effective in providing pain relief.
"It is, however, important to raise awareness among the public that they must not self-medicate themselves for the underlying condition as it can cause more harm than good," said Dr A Marthanda Pillai, National President of IMA.
Pillai said it was a common perception that OTC drugs like paracetamol or aspirin can be taken for pain relief without consulting a doctor.
"Paracetamol has little anti-inflammatory activity and should be used more to manage fever than pain relief. It also is the number one suicidal agent in the west and the USFDA recommends that not more than 325mg of the drug should be used in any combination tablet," he said.
"Similarly aspirin, if self-administered in children can precipitate liver failure, a condition called Reye's syndrome. IMA believes that both Paracetamol and Aspirin should be used under medical supervision," said Dr KK Aggarwal, Secretary General of IMA.
"The same may not be in the public interest as they have little knowledge about when not to use these drugs," said Aggarwal