It is already well known to the French, but will no longer be highlighted in the press, on television, on the Internet or in any mainstream media. The National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) announced this Thursday that ibuprofen 400 mg will no longer be able to be advertised from April 2. This concerns in particular Advil, Nurofen, Spedifen and generics, all sold without a prescription.
Why such a decision ? Because this medication, usually taken in case of fever or pain, may cause serious serious side effects such as gastrodigestive bleeding and kidney damage. It can also prevent the detection of a potentially serious infection. However, “reports have increased in parallel with the number of advertisements to the general public in favor of ibuprofen 400 mg and the sales of these drugs”, justifies the ANSM.
These advertisements still display a statement “use the lowest possible dose, ibuprofen exists at 200 mg”. But this “was not likely to encourage patients to start” with this lighter version, points out the agency. “The main idea is that patients understand that ibuprofen treatment must be started wisely and correctly, i.e. at the lowest dose of 200 mg and over time. the shortest,” says Dr Philippe Vella, medical director at the ANSM.
30 million boxes sold each year
The Marketing Authorization will thus be modified to prohibit general public advertising. Warned within the framework of the so-called “adversarial” procedure, the laboratories were not necessarily delighted by this desire of the ANSM. It must be said that the 400 mg dosage represents the vast majority of boxes of ibuprofen for adults sold each year in France (30 million compared to 4 million for the 200 mg version).
But be careful: this ban on advertising does not call into question the benefit/risk balance of ibuprofen 400 mg, “which remains safe and effective provided that it is correctly administered”, insists Philippe Vella.
In December 2019, the ANSM had already banned “free access” to boxes of this drug : since this date, they must be positioned behind the counter in pharmacies and it is impossible to serve yourself. The French agency promises to continue to act “in favor of the proper use of these medications available without a prescription and in common use”. But at this stage, no further action is planned.