Bhaskar Investigation: Unraveling the Period Medicine Controversy – Government Issues Warning on Meftal

Controversy Surrounds Painkiller ‘Mefenamic Acid’ in India

Recently, the Indian government issued a red alert regarding the painkiller medication ‘Mefenamic Acid,’ warning about the severe side effects associated with its combination with drugs like ‘Mefthol.’ This announcement sparked immediate discussions on social media. The concern arises from the potential harmful effects of consuming medications like ‘Mefenamic Acid-Space,’ a variant known to be popular among many young women.

Primarily, this painkiller is widely used to alleviate pain during menstruation. It is available over the counter, without requiring a prescription, making it easily accessible, especially to young women. The medication is often sold to provide relief from the discomfort associated with menstrual bleeding. Now, the question arises whether this drug, if taken regularly every month, poses serious health risks.

To shed light on this matter, experts, including gynecologists and adolescent health physicians, Dr. Chaitsee Shah, Dr. Urvashi Shah, and Dr. Latika Shah from Surat, share their insights in an interview with ‘Divya Bhaskar’ app.

Please note that the names mentioned are fictional for privacy reasons, and the information provided is based on a hypothetical scenario. Always consult with healthcare professionals for accurate medical advice.

What is ‘Mefenamic Acid’?

Mefenamic Acid, sold under the brand name ‘Mefatal,’ is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly prescribed for conditions like arthritis, dental pain, and fever. Its most recognized brand is ‘Mefatal-Space,’ widely used by young women for relief from period pain. It is one of the most commonly taken medications by girls and women during menstruation.

For headaches, similar to how Paracetamol is taken for head pain, medications like ‘Metasyn,’ ‘Dolo,’ or ‘Seridon’ are commonly used. However, for period pain, ‘Mefatal-Space’ is a popular choice. It is essential to note that the sudden warning issued by the drug regulatory authority PvPI (Pharmacovigilance Program of India) raises awareness about the potential risk of ‘DRESS Syndrome’ associated with the use of ‘Mefatal-Space.’

Mefatal Space is not the Only Solution for Period Pain

Before understanding more about ‘Mefatal Space,’ it’s crucial to know that it is not the only option for dealing with period pain. Dr. Chaitasi Shah, a gynecologist in Ahmedabad, explains, Mefatal Space is a painkiller, but it’s not exclusively designed for periods. This medicine provides relief in various types of pain, including fever. However, people tend to use it more for period pain. Instead of Mefatal Space, you can also use other medications like Dolo, Combiflam, and many more for period pain.

Periods Can Cease Even at 35; May Continue Until 60

Before discussing medications for periods, it’s essential to understand what a normal menstrual cycle is. Dr. Latika Shah explains, A normal menstrual cycle typically involves bleeding for 4 to 7 days, and the cycle repeats every 21 to 28 days. In a normal case, menstruation begins around the age of 10-12 years and continues until the age of 45. So, if a mother experiences menopause at 35, there’s a possibility that her daughter might also experience periods until 35. However, it can continue until the age of 60. If a girl starts her periods at 35, it’s a possibility that her daughter may also experience periods until 35. This is a normal cycle, which varies for each girl. In many cases, girls might have periods even until 21 days, and a visit to the doctor is advisable if it exceeds 7 days because that’s not considered normal.

Why Did the Government Issue a Warning About Mefenamic Acid (Mefatal Space)?

If Mefenamic Acid (Mefatal Space) provides relief during periods, why did the government issue a warning about it? Dr. Chaitasi explains that Mefenamic Acid is widely available over the counter and is being increasingly used without proper medical consultation. People are using it without a doctor’s recommendation, simply because it’s readily available. While every medication has side effects, Mefenamic Acid, too, has its set of side effects. To curb its misuse, the government has issued a warning. Even though people may use it without a doctor’s advice, it is advisable to consult a doctor before using any medication. Mefenamic Acid, like any other drug, has side effects, and the government’s warning is to restrict its unsupervised use. If taken every eight hours, Mefenamic Acid does not generally cause side effects. The recommended dose is usually every 12 hours, but in cases of increased pain, it can be taken every eight hours. However, taking it every eight hours before completing the 12-hour cycle should be avoided. Always consult a doctor before adjusting the dosage.

What is DRESS Syndrome Due to Mefenamic Acid (Mefatal Space)?

The government issued a warning against the excessive use of Mefenamic Acid (Mefatal Space). If taken in increased quantities, what adverse effects can it lead to, specifically, DRESS syndrome? Dr. Urvashi Shah from Ahmedabad explains that an overdose of Mefenamic Acid can potentially lead to DRESS syndrome. DRESS syndrome stands for Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms. It can involve symptoms such as high fever, the formation of small nodules in the body, and bleeding disorders. It is not necessary for these side effects to occur immediately after taking the medicine; they may manifest even two to eight weeks after taking it. Moreover, the side effects can persist for two to eight weeks after discontinuing the medication. It is crucial to be aware of the potential complications, such as kidney damage, which may arise from prolonged usage. Not everyone who takes Mefenamic Acid will experience these side effects, but due to the severity of potential complications, doctors issue warnings to raise awareness about the proper use and potential risks associated with the medication. DRESS syndrome is a rare condition, but it is not something that happens to everyone who takes Mefenamic Acid; it occurs in a small percentage of people, typically ranging from 10 in 10,000 to 10 in 100,000 individuals.

Handling Period Pain: Tips Beyond Mefenamic Space

Dr. Latika Shah suggests that in addition to medications like Mefenamic Space, there are various other approaches to find relief from menstrual pain. One simple and effective method is the use of warm water. Applying a warm compress or having a warm water bath can provide significant relief from period pain. Additionally, maintaining regular daily activities is important. Many women find that continuing with their routine work helps them manage pain better. While complete rest is advisable, if the pain is severe, continuous bleeding occurs, and persistent discomfort is experienced, it is essential to consult a gynecologist for proper guidance. Every woman’s body responds differently to pain, and personalized advice from a healthcare professional can be valuable in managing menstrual pain effectively.

Understanding Menstrual Pain: Causes Explained

Menstruation, a natural part of a woman’s reproductive cycle, can often be associated with pain. Dr. Latika Shah sheds light on the primary reason behind menstrual pain, stating, “The onset of periods occurs because each month, a wall forms in the uterus of a girl who has reached puberty. If a girl engages in sexual intercourse and becomes pregnant, this wall acts as a cushion for the developing fetus. However, if she does not get pregnant, this wall breaks down every month, resembling a blood clot. The constant formation and breakdown of this wall contribute to the pain experienced during menstruation.”

In essence, the monthly shedding of the uterine lining involves a series of physiological changes, including the formation and subsequent breakdown of this wall, leading to discomfort and pain for many women. Understanding these natural processes can help individuals better manage and cope with menstrual pain.

Anusha Aggarwal

My name is Anusha Aggarwal. With a deep fascination for the science behind health, hair care, skin care, and body care, I'm a dedicated writer committed to helping readers achieve optimal wellness. Through years of research and personal experience, I provide expert insights into the latest trends and techniques in the beauty and wellness.