MHRA consults on OTC painkiller for period pain

Naproxen may become available OTC, according to the MHRA.

The drugs regulator has launched a consultation over whether naproxen 250mg should  be available to buy in a pharmacy for women aged 15–50 with primary dysmenorrhoea.

One in 10 women suffer from severe period pain. But the only OTC painkiller currently available to them is ibuprofen.

The MHRA consultation on switching naproxen from prescription-only to OTC is part of a wider initiative to increase availability of medicines for women’s health problems.

The MHRA is already looking at making tranexamic acid (Cyklo-F) available in the pharmacy for women with heavy menstrual bleeding.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, RCGP spokeswoman for women’s health, said making naproxen OTC was ‘no big issue’, since the NSAID ibuprofen is already available OTC.

Dr Graham Archard, RCGP vice chairman, said moving naproxen to pharmacy or OTC status could improve self-management of dysmenorrhoea.

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