File image of a pharmacy. / sur

Common over-the-counter tablets in Spain now only available on prescription

The Ministry of Health is cracking down on the sale of some drugs, which should already only be supplied on prescription but which pharmacies commonly sell without asking for one

Ángel Escalera
ÁNGEL ESCALERA MALAGA.

Some common medication which until now has been freely available over the counter in Spain will only be given on receipt of a prescription from now on. These include some common drugs including Ibuprofen 600 mgs, paracetamol 1g, Simvastatina and Nolotil.

The Ministry of Health is cracking down on the sale of these drugs, which should already only be supplied on prescription but which pharmacies commonly sell without asking for one.

Chemists consulted by SUR have said that the 1g Paracetamol and 600 mg Ibuprofen in particular have caused side effects in some people who have taken them without following the advice of a doctor.

High doses of Ibuprofen can cause cardiovascular problems and affect the kidneys, and it should not be taken by people with high blood pressure. Paracetamol can have toxic effects on the liver and kidneys if taken in excess.

"We need to stop people treating themselves"

Curiously, 400 mg Ibuprofen and 600 mg paracetamol are available over the counter and pharmacists fear that this could encourage people to take two tablets instead of one, which could be harmful. These contain fewer tablets than the packs with higher doses, and are actually more expensive.

“A prescription is the guarantee for the patient that the medication they are taking is correct. We need to stop people treating themselves and encourage them to see their doctor,” sources said.