The growing irritational use of Diclofenac by sports personalities

Doctor's Corner with DR JOSEPH KABUNGO
THE Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) include Diclofenac, Brufen, Indomethacin, Piroxicam, Aspirin and many other pain killers

sold over the counter and used extensively in sport.
The sad part is that these drugs continue to be abused.
The pain relieving drug which is so commonly used by football players is diclofenac.
This drug is mostly taken without medical prescription.
One important aspect that I have come to appreciate is the over prescribing by health care professionals of NSAIDS is as a result of pressure from the coaching staff and players themselves.
Health care professionals in this case are not only doctors but others taking care of teams in the Premier League such as physiotherapists, clinical officers and nurses.
Some players have a psychological problem with the use of Diclofenac claiming that they feel better after training or before a competitive match.
These unjustifiable uses of Diclofenac need to be checked if preservation of players’ health has to be a reality.
Despite the many positive benefits of Diclofenac, it also has potential to cause harm to the body apart from the side effects associated with it.
Some of the common uses of Diclofenac include acute bouts of Gout, migraine headache, post-operative wounds, Arthritis, Musculoskeletal pain from various causes, dysmenorrhoeal and the drug is popular in the treatment of various sports injuries.
Diclofenac should not be used in patients with known reactions to aspirin.
This drug should be used with care in individuals with bleeding tendencies and should not be entertained at all in patients with gastric ulcers.
The use of Diclofenac in patients with known history of asthma has to be given after carefully following the individual’s previous response to aspirin and other NSAIDS.
Aspirin can trigger an asthmatic attack in susceptible individuals.
In patients with diabetes mellitus the use of Diclofenac has to be controlled because of the tendency of the drug to either cause increased or reduced blood sugar levels (Hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia).
Some of the common side effects of Diclofenac include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and at times diarrhea.
It is therefore important to take Diclofenac preferably with food.
Diclofenac can also result in rash eruption and individuals who are sensitive to this drug should be disqualified from future use.
Diclofenac has got so many side effects involving a lot of the body systems and this is the reason why strict control of this drug is needed.
If our sportsmen and women have to lead healthy lives, they should make sure that they only take drugs which are prescribed to them by qualified medical practitioners.
It is important to protect the health of sportsmen and women by discouraging self-prescription of pain relieving drugs like Diclofenac.
Unfortunately self-prescription is a big problem found in our country.
It is important for various medical personnel taking care of sportsmen and women to help put in check this abuse of commonly accessed drugs.
Sportsmen and women need to be educated on the dangers of abusing drugs.
It is for this reason that Zambia needs strong legislation regarding the sale of certain drugs over the counter.
It is important that the use of Diclofenac and NSAIDS is correctly prescribed.
Diclofenac is good for use in football players and other sportsmen and provided provided that it is used for the correct purpose.
It is time for the Pharmaceutical regulatory body to help in controlling the sale of these potentially harmful drugs.
For questions and comments write to: Dr Kabungo Joseph
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