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Home Newsletters NL-1-2014-LETTER-13-Drugs Banned in other Countries But Available in India
NL-1-2014-LETTER-13-Drugs Banned in other Countries But Available in India PDF Print E-mail

Drugs Banned in other Countries But Available in India

P.Maheshwari*, Praveen.D, V.Ravichandiran, B.Senthilnathan


School of pharmaceutical sciences, Vels University

Some drugs banned in other countries are available in India.


Though each country has its own list of banned drugs, it is worrisome that some drugs that are banned in other countries for proven adverse effects are still available in the Indian market.  Some of these drugs are available over – the – counter and people may take it without realizing the risk. A note of caution on these drugs could help patients in deciding whether they want to take the drug. Some of these drugs are:

Phenylpropanolamine is commonly found in cold and cough medications in India. It was also used to treat obesity in the US where it was found to increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (stroke due to a bleed in the brain). It also had the potential to worsen psychiatric problems.  Though the dose used in cough and cold medicines is lower than that used in obesity, people buying the medication especially over the counter should be made aware of these adverse effects. This drug has come under the scanner and may soon be banned in India.

Metamizole (Analgin)
Analgin is a painkiller. It has been banned in some countries since it carries the risk of agranulocytosis (condition where the bone marrow does not produce certain types of white blood cells). Beside, safer painkillers that are equally effective are easily available and there is no need to take such as serious risk. Analgin itself is not banned in India but the combination of analgin with any other drug is banned.

Oxyphenbutazone is a painkiller belonging to the same class of drugs as analgin. It has been banned in many countries since it causes bone marrow depression and other side effects. Its combination with any other drug is banned in India.

Nimesulide is a painkiller that was not introduced in the American, UK or Australian market but is widely used in India. It has been found to cause liver failure and hence has been banned in some countries.  Children with viral infection could be particularly susceptible. However, the ban has not been implemented even in children in India.

Cisapride is a drug that increases the motility of the gastrointestinal tract. It is used to treat acidity and constipation. It may cause arrhythmia when used in high doses or when combined with other drugs like erythromycin and ketoconazole; hence it is banned in some countries. Its use in India is under the scanner and it may soon face a ban.

Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone
Furazolidone acts against some bacteria and protozoa that cause diarrhea. It is used alone as well as with other drugs such as metronidazole. It has been banned in some countries since it belongs to a class of drugs that could cause cancer. The combination of loperamide with furazolidone is banned in India.

Nitrofurazone is an antibacterial cream that belongs to the same class of drugs as furazolidone, thus there is a chance that it could also cause cancer. Hence it is banned in some countries.

Cerivastatin in a cholesterol lowering drug similar to atorvastatin. It was withdrawn since it caused several cases of rhabdomyolysis (damage to muscles) following which patients suffer from kidney failure. Unfortunately, it is still available in India.

Phenolphthalein is a stimulant purgative. It produced cancers when tested in mice as well as damage to genes. Hence it has been banned in some countries.

Quinodochlor is an amoebicidal drug effective against diarrhea caused by amoebae.  It caused a serious side effect called subacute myelo – optic neuropathy, initially seen in Japanese, a condition that caused nerve damage and loss of sight.

Tegaserod is a drug that is used to treat patients with irritable bowel syndrome with predominantly constipation. It was withdrawn from the market since patients taking this drug showed increased incidence of heart attack and stroke.

Human Placental extract
Human placental extract is used in the cosmetic industry in the form of lotion, gel and injection. It is not permitted in some countries since it can transmit diseases to the user. It is under the scanner and may be banned in the future.

Thioridazine is an antipsychotic drug. It causes adverse effects like arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), eye damage, and a condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

Pergolide is a drug used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It has been withdrawn from some countries since it causes damage to heart valves. 


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