“..Health authorities say people using a drug linked to the death of two people in Australia should switch to a “safer alternative”.
The Government’s medicines watchdog, Medsafe, said yesterday that short-term users of Prexige “would be wise to stop taking it and take something else”.
The drug is used short term for dental, menstrual and post-surgical pain.
It is used long term by a small number of people with osteoarthritis.
It has been urgently ordered off the market in Australia after two people died and two others needed liver transplants after using it.
New Zealand authorities have stopped short of recalling the drug.
They will probably make a decision today after talks with Australian health authorities and Prexige manufacturer Novartis.
Up to 60,000 people take the drug in Australia.
In New Zealand, the number is much smaller as it is not a subsidised medicine.
Medsafe said about 2000 people used Prexige.
Of those, about 700 were long-term users and the rest were taking it for less than 10 days..”