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Journal Articles BMC Health Services Research Year : 2018

Use of analgesics in France, following dextropropoxyphene withdrawal


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In 2009, the European Medicines Agency recommended withdrawal of dextropropoxyphene (DXP); in March 2011 it was withdrawn from the market in France.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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hal-01773844 , version 1 (23-04-2018)


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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, 2018, 18 (1), pp.231. ⟨10.1186/s12913-018-3058-1⟩. ⟨hal-01773844⟩
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