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Use of analgesics in France, following dextropropoxyphene withdrawal

Abstract : Background: In 2009, the European Medicines Agency recommended withdrawal of dextropropoxyphene (DXP); in March 2011 it was withdrawn from the market in France. Up until that time the combination dextropropoxyphene-paracetamol (DXP/PC) was widely used for analgesia. At withdrawal, French regulators recommended that DXP/PC be replaced by other step 2 analgesics, i.e. tramadol, codeine, or opium-containing drugs, or by PC for a weak level of pain. To investigate prescribing behaviours after DXP/PC withdrawal, dispensations of analgesics before and after withdrawal were analysed.Methods: Aggregated dispensation data of analgesics prescribed between January 2009 and December 2012 in the Rhône-Alpes region were obtained from the general health insurance claims data; changes in analgesic dispensation over time were analysed with the ATC/DDD methodology. Pre (Jan-June 2009) and post-withdrawal (Jan-June 2012) changes of DDDs where computed for each analgesic step.Results The dispensations of DXP/PC experienced a two-step decrease until 2011. Over the withdrawal period 2009-2012, there was a 14% decrease in the overall use of analgesic (from 109 to 94 DDDs), while the use of step 2 analgesics declined by 46% (- 22 DDDs, from 47 to 25 DDDs). This latter decline included a cessation of use of DXP/PC (29 DDDs in 2009) that were only in part (+ 7 DDDs, from 18 to 25 DDDs) compensated by increased use of codeine, tramadol and opium, in monotherapy or combined with PC. For step 1 analgesics, use increased with 9%, mostly PC (+ 8 DDDs, from 31 to 39 DDDs). Step 3 analgesics dispensations remained largely unchanged over this period (around 3 DDDs).Conclusions: In the Rhône-Alpes region, DXP/PC withdrawal was accompanied in part by an increased use of same level analgesics, and in part by an increased use of PC in monotherapy. The extent of DXP/PC use before withdrawal, and the increased use of PC after DXP withdrawal, underline the complexity of pain management.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Monday, April 23, 2018 - 11:15:39 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 5:20:07 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 11:11:32 PM


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E. van Ganse, M. Belhassen, M. Ginoux, E. Chrétien, Catherine Cornu, et al.. Use of analgesics in France, following dextropropoxyphene withdrawal. BMC Health Services Research, BioMed Central, 2018, 18 (1), pp.231. ⟨10.1186/s12913-018-3058-1⟩. ⟨hal-01773844⟩



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