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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Warning over prescribed drug after Carlisle man dies

The sudden death of a Carlisle man has triggered a warning to a medical watchdog about possible dangers of a drug.

A coroner is highlighting concerns nationally after hearing how a 58-year-old died as a result of medication prescribed to treat his arthritis.

Michael Hughes, Beverley Rise, Harraby, was on holiday in Greece when he suffered internal bleeding from a burst ulcer last September.

An inquest into his death heard how when he was first diagnosed with arthritis in his right knee in 2008 he wasprescribed the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac by his GP, but following a medication review it was changed to Naproxen last May.

Throughout his treatment he was advised by doctors that he should stop taking the medication if he suffered from side effects such as stomach pain or indigestion.

Robert Chapman, assistant coroner, told Mr Hughes’ family that the inquest had been opened because it was suspected that his death was linked to the prescribed medication.

In a letter Dr Philip Jones, from the Gastro-Enterology department at Manchester’s Wythenshawe Hospital, said that he considered the bleeding had been caused by the medication.

Mr Hughes’ wife, Barbara, who was with her husband on holiday in Kos at the time of his death, told the hearing that he had complained about feeling strange.

She said: “He struggled up the stairs and he just said ‘I feel weird’.”

She took him to the hotel’s reception desk and they called for a doctor, adding: “The doctor came and examined him. He couldn’t stand up and collapsed again.”

Hospital said the cause was a burst ulcer and that he would be fine and out in a few days but his condition worsened.

Mrs Hughes said she heard that her husband, who worked as a process worker, was going to be transferred to a hospital in Athens for an operation but he died shortly afterwards.

In his letter Dr Jones said that excess alcohol could also have contributed to the ulcer but Mrs Hughes said her husband had not been drinking heavily.

She said: “He didn’t really drink much.

“He didn’t drink at all through the day, maybe four or five pints at night, that was it.”

Mr Chapman said it was clear from the evidence that the drugs Mr Hughes was on at the time must have had an effect on his stomach and caused the ulcer that burst while on holiday.

He added: “I don’t think that the GP had any notion that there was a problem – he didn’t show any signs of it – he hadn’t had dyspepsia as far as we can tell.”

The coroner said that the death “was as a result of a course of medication” and that he would be contacting the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) with the findings.

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