Advertising for ibuprofen 400 mg will soon be banned, the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) announced this Thursday, February 8. Effective from April 2, these new provisions are part of the continuity of actions in favor of the proper use of ibuprofen. This medication is usually used to relieve pain and reduce fever.
In total, 16 laboratories and around thirty brands of medicines are concerned, Philippe Vella, medical director at the ANSM, told AFP. Among these brands, Advil 400, Nurofen 400, Spedifen 400, as well as “all generics whose name begins with ibuprofen with the name of the laboratory and the dosage next to it”, according to Philippe Vella. And to specify that all laboratories have been informed of this “restrictive measure”.
A measure taken to encourage “better education for better use” of these drugs, available without a prescription and widely consumed in France, argues Philippe Vella. The agency does not, however, call into question the effectiveness of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug most used in France, when taken correctly.
But according to the drug police, “an overall analysis of all advertisements” for ibuprofen 400mg would have shown that these commercial communications “were not likely to encourage patients” to follow the correct use of these medications.
And for good reason, the ANSM recommends starting treatment by taking the lowest dose. Namely, ibuprofen 200 mg. However, although advertisements for ibuprofen-based medications encourage favoring “the lowest possible dose”, the National Agency notes that they have led to a significant increase in sales of ibuprofen 400 mg.
Several “serious” side effects
The drug agency noted an increase in “reports of serious adverse effects linked to the dose of ibuprofen” alongside the broadcast of advertisements for this drug to the general public. Gastro-digestive hemorrhages and kidney damage in particular. So many reasons which encourage us to limit treatment over time as much as possible. “No more than three days in case of fever, five days in case of pain, respecting an interval of at least six hours between two doses,” emphasizes Doctor Vella.
And remember that in case of fever or pain, it is better to start by taking paracetamol, which remains favored by the French. Some 600 million boxes sold in 2022 compared to 34 million boxes of ibuprofen (all dosages combined), including 30 million of ibuprofen 400 mg.
Please note that since 2019, these products are no longer available on pharmacy shelves, but only on request. The same year, a new indication was also added to the packaging, informing “that taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug can mask the symptoms of a bacterial infection and lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment” .