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General News of Thursday, 22 July 2021


Experts warn sickle cell patients against opioid pain relievers

Sickle Cell Foundation Sickle Cell Foundation

The Chairman Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria (SCFN), Prof. Olu Akinyanju has warned sickle cell patients to stay away from pentazocine, an opioid pain reliever that is allegedly addictive.

The chairman said this at the commemoration of the World Sickle Cell Day marked with patients and their families, which was held at the SCFN in Lagos.

“Until the doctor prescribes it, don’t go to the pharmacy to buy pentazocine,” he cautioned sickle cell patients while explaining that it is very addictive.

According to Akinyanju, some sickle cell patients, who became addicted after taking pentazocine, are being treated at Yaba Neuropsychiatric hospital.

While noting that the drug is in oral and injectable forms, the chairman bemoaned that the drug is available in many pharmacies. “Please be warned,” he implored, “Don’t go and take this pentazocine.”

Lending her voice, the National Director and CEO of SCFN, Dr. Annette Akinsete said SCFN has written formally to the minister of health and to the commissioner for health. “We are hoping that when they have the National Council for Health meeting this should be brought up and discussed.”

In her view, she described the situation of access to medication across the counter as unfortunate. “People just access medication across the counter and that should not be.

“Pentazocine is an addiction and addiction is a psychiatric disorder. Some of our patients are already getting those addictions and are getting treated at Yaba.”

However, Akinsete added that one of the things SCFN is promoting is the use of nonpharmacological means of handling pain. “Many of our patients are into art – painting. There is a way you can manage pain without taking medication. There is music, yoga, and exercise. We are promoting it. Keep drugs for later.”

Meanwhile, SCFN has established a cure for sickle cell disorder. “One of the things we are excited about today is that SCFN has established a bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in partnership with Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), which is the cure for sickle cell even though people say it’s a disease that has no cure.”

Akinsete highlighted that SCFN has made it available and accessible to Nigerians. “We are getting enquiries from other parts of the world, even from the UK and the US,” she said.

The comprehensive state of the art BMT centre, SCFN noted, aims to bring a life changing cure to Nigerians and attract foreigners.

The Founder of the Sickle Cell Champion’s Club, Atinuke Adeleye, explained that the club is out to encourage persons with sickle cell disorder to live normal lives.

“At the club, persons with sickle cell disorder come together to share views or ideas about the control of Sickle Cell Disorder in Nigeria,” she adds.

Entertaining participants at the occasion, the SCFN distributed free medicine and foodstuffs. This was achieved with sponsors like Zolon Health Care Ltd, Shoprite, La Roche Leadership Foundation, Food Concepts, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc.

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