Advertising to the general public to promote the highest dosage of ibuprofen (400 mg), used to relieve pain and reduce fever, will be banned from April 2, the National Security Agency announced on Thursday medicine (ANSM).
This measure aims to popularize “better education for better use” of these drugs, available without a prescription and widely consumed in France, explains Dr Philippe Vella, medical director at the ANSM.
Proper use of ibuprofen
This ban “in newspapers, on television, on websites or in any other general public media”, is part of the continuity of actions in favor of the proper use of ibuprofen, without calling into question the effectiveness and the safety of these drugs when used correctly, specifies the agency.
Ibuprofen is the most widely used of all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in France.
This ban on promotion in the media was decided after “an overall analysis of all advertising” around specialties based on ibuprofen 400 mg which showed that these commercial communications “were not likely to encourage patients” to follow the proper use of these medications, explains the agency.
The recommendations actually recommend “favoring taking ibuprofen at a dose of 200 mg as first intention”, that is to say starting treatment with the lowest dose, recalls the drug policeman.
Ads lead to increased sales
Advertisements in favor of the 400mg dosage clearly remind the general public of this precautionary principle with a message encouraging them to use “the lowest possible dose”, according to the ANSM.
But, in a “majority” way, they led to an increase in sales of these specialties and, at the same time, the ANSM noted an increase in “reports of serious adverse effects linked to the dose of ibuprofen” in particular gastrointestinal bleeding. -digestive and kidney damage.
Ibuprofen 400mg available only on request
In total, “16 laboratories are concerned with ibuprofen 400 mg, which represents around thirty brands of medicine” (such as Advil 400, Nurofen 400, Spedifen 400 and all generics whose name begins with ibuprofen with the name of the laboratory and the dosage alongside), detailed Philippe Vella. They were informed of this “restrictive measure”.
Since the end of 2019, these products are no longer available on pharmacy shelves, but on request from the pharmacist.
Always start with the 200mg dose, emphasizes Dr Philippe Vella
“The important thing is to take it for the shortest possible time, no more than three days in case of fever and five days in case of pain, starting with the dose of 200 mg and respecting the interval at least 6 hours between two doses,” insists Dr Philippe Vella, medical director at the ANSM.
In case of fever or pain, you should start with paracetamol, reminds the doctor. Paracetamol also remains favored: around 600 million boxes sold in 2022 compared to around 34 million boxes of ibuprofen (all dosages), including 30 million of ibuprofen 400 and 4 million of ibuprofen 200.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should not be used in cases of chickenpox, bleeding disorders, stomach ulcers, kidney and liver diseases in particular. They are also contraindicated from the sixth month of pregnancy.