Expats have revealed the horrific side effects and life-changing injuries they have suffered after receiving a drug called “killer painkiller”, which is widely used by Spanish doctors.
A British woman living in Spain told how she had to have part of her feet and toes amputated after she suffered septic shock and her skin began to “rot”, with doctors linking her symptoms to Nolotil.
Another victim in her 60s also told how she suffered “terrible” side effects that made her life “horrible” after she was given Nolotil to help relieve pain from shoulder surgery.
Nolotil, which is a brand name of metamizole, is banned in the UK and more than 40 countries worldwide, but is popular with doctors in Spain, many of whom work with the phrase “Nolotil si duele”.
It can cause a condition known as agranulocytosis, which kills white blood cells, increasing the risk of sepsis and even triggering organ failure and other dire complications.
An Irish expat living in Spain shared images of her injuries after contracting necrotizing fasciitis.
A 62-year-old British woman who lived in Spain tells how her fingers had to be amputated after suffering septic shock
A British expat, who has now returned to the UK, had to have part of her feet amputated after her skin began to “rot”.
Dozens of British tourists and expats in Spain have reported horrible side effects in recent years, and campaigners have said the drug can be deadly.
Anti-Nolotil campaigner Cristina García del Campo said she knows of almost 40 Britons who have died after receiving the drug since 2016, adding that the real number could be much higher.
The dangers of the drug were highlighted last month with the death of British father Mark Brooks, who died just four days after being prescribed Nolotil for shoulder pain.
Other expats have been close to death after being administered the prescription-only painkiller.
An Irish woman living in Malaga described how she almost lost her life after taking Nolotil “as prescribed by doctors” for shoulder pain.
The 69-year-old man was diagnosed with agranulocytosis due to metamizole, a jaw infection due to neutropenia (lack of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell) and necrotizing fasciitis, known as the “flesh-eating disease.”
She had to undergo four operations on her neck to remove necrotic tissue, as well as some glands and muscles, and said she was left “disfigured with a huge, ugly scar on her neck.”
The expatriate said she had to undergo four operations on her neck to remove necrotic tissue.
The Irish patient said she was left “disfigured with a huge, ugly scar on her neck.”
“Now I look and feel like a mess and it will take me a long time to recover, but I will never be the same again,” she said.
‘I have a long list of medical and emotional problems after this horrible experience that is not over yet.
‘My life now is horrible, without quality and with constant pain, I no longer recognize myself in the mirror!’
The woman, who remains in Spain, said she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience and still faces health problems years later.
A British woman, now 70 and asking not to be identified, said she was given the drug after going to a health clinic in Spain for kidney stones.
She said she only took three tablets before becoming seriously ill, having difficulty speaking and suffering from delirium, and was rushed to hospital.
Del Campo says he has presented to the health authorities the dozens of cases he collected
Derbyshire father-of-one Mark Brooks is believed to be the latest victim of the drug. In the photo with his four-year-old daughter Aurora.
The woman was initially diagnosed with leukemia until doctors realized that she was suffering from septic shock ‘due to agranulocytosis induced by metamizole, with serious complications’, according to her medical reports.
The patient was admitted to intensive care with sepsis and suffered gangrene, with her hands, arms, feet, nose and ears all turning black.
He thought the clothes in the hospital were dirty, before realizing that it was his skin giving off an unpleasant odor while he “wasted.”
Part of his feet and some fingers had to be amputated, and he left the hospital unable to walk and weighing only 43 kg.
Since his ordeal began in 2013, he has had to return to the UK from Spain.
Ms Del Campo says there has been little change since the recommendations were made in 2018
She never returned to work and is now disabled, and the side effects of the nightmare continue to affect her to this day.
He said doctors described his condition as a “catastrophic adverse reaction to Nolotil.”
The country’s regulators have told Spanish doctors to avoid prescribing the drug to British tourists since 2018, but Del Campo says there has been little change since these recommendations were made.
This guidance emerged after an unpublished study found that British people are 80 to 120 times more likely to suffer from agranulocytosis compared to Spanish patients.
A spokesperson for Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturer that makes Nolotil, said in a statement: “We take patient safety and public health seriously and cooperate closely with regulators on issues related to product safety.”
“We are of the opinion that the currently approved prescribing information adequately addresses current knowledge about the identified risks.”