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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;84(6):1324-1334. doi: 10.1111/bcp.13564. Epub 2018 Apr 2.

Trends in analgesic consumption in France over the last 10 years and comparison of patterns across Europe.

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French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety, Surveillance Division, Saint-Denis, France.



The aims of the present study were to describe the consumption trends of three groups of analgesics (non-opioids, and mild and strong opioids) between 2006 and 2015 in France, and compare this pattern of use with six European countries in 2015.


Annual drugs sales were extracted from the French national authority's consumption database, and from the IMS Multinational Integrated Data Analysis System and national databases for European countries.


The use of mild opioids in France was found to have decreased by 53% over the past 10 years, owing to the declining use of dextropropoxyphene combinations, along with an increase in the use of non-opioids and strong opioids (from 72 to 93, and 2 to 2.8 defined daily doses/1000 inhabitants/day, respectively). Paracetamol, the most consumed analgesic, increased over this period, particularly for the adult high dose (+140%). The use of tramadol and codeine combinations also increased, by 62% and 42%, respectively. Morphine remained the most used strong opioid, although there were also large increases in the consumption of oxycodone (+613%) and fentanyl (+263% and +72% for transmucosal and transdermal forms, respectively). A comparison of the patterns of use in Europe in 2015 showed a higher consumption of mild and strong opioids in the UK. France ranked first and third place, respectively, for paracetamol and mild opioid consumption, whereas its use of strong opioids was among the lowest.


Paracetamol consumption is clearly highest in France, whereas its use of strong opioids is among the lowest in Europe, although its consumption of oxycodone has increased significantly. Further studies are required specifically to monitor these drugs.


Europe; France; analgesics; consumption; non-opioids; opioids

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