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Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission’s Alert


The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) has issued a drug safety alert concerning Meftal, a common painkiller. The alert warns about severe allergic reactions, including the DRESS syndrome, triggered by its constituent, mefenamic acid, which has the potential to impact internal organs.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. DRESS Syndrome
  2. Meftal’s Use and Side Effects
  3. Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC): Overview

DRESS Syndrome

  • DRESS syndrome, or Drug Rash with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms, is a severe allergic reaction affecting approximately 10% of individuals.
  • Also known as Drug-Induced Hypersensitivity Syndrome (DIHS).
  • It can be caused by certain medications and is characterized by skin rash, high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and complications in internal organs.

Meftal’s Use and Side Effects

  • Meftal is a commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
Associated Side Effects of Meftal:
  • Multiple Uses:
    • Meftal is widely used in India for various purposes, including relieving menstrual pains, headaches, muscle and joint pain. It is also prevalent among children for high fever.
  • Gastrointestinal Risks:
    • Prolonged use of drugs like Meftal may increase the risk of stomach ulcers, bleeding, and related complications.
  • Cardiovascular Concerns:
    • Meftal has been associated with potential adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.
  • Renal Complications:
    • Some experts have flagged renal complications as a potential side effect of Meftal.

Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC): Overview

  • Autonomous Institution:
    • IPC is an Autonomous Institution operating under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Establishment and Purpose:
    • Created to set standards for drugs in India.
    • Primarily focuses on updating standards for drugs required in the treatment of prevalent diseases in the region.
  • Key Functions:
    • Regularly updates drug standards to ensure quality and efficacy.
    • Publishes official documents, such as the Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP), to enhance the quality of medicines.
    • Promotes the rational use of generic medicines by publishing the National Formulary of India.
  • Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP):
    • Serves as a reference document containing monographs that specify the standards and quality requirements for various drugs.
  • National Formulary of India:
    • A publication by IPC that encourages the rational use of generic medicines.
  • IP Reference Substances (IPRS):
    • Provides IP Reference Substances, acting as a fingerprint for identifying and assessing the purity of substances under test, as prescribed in IP.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024