Abuse of Non-Narcotic Analgesics

  • P. Kielholz
  • D. Ladewig
Part of the Handbuch der experimentellen Pharmakologie / Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 45 / 1)


After reports had first been published from Switzerland referring to the abuse of antipyretic analgesics containing phenacetin (Kielholz, 1954; Horrisberger et al., 1958; Battegay, 1958) and to the possibility of a causal connection between such abuse and chronic renal diseases (Spühler and Zollinger, 1963), numerous authors subsequently drew attention to the problem of the misuse of non-narcotic analgesics (cf. Gsell et al., 1968). The misuse of non-narcotic analgesics may lead to genuine dependence (Eddy et al., 1965; Jaffe, 1970), which on theoretical grounds might be assigned to the barbiturate type of drug dependence. An enquiry which was carried out from 1955 to 1969 over the whole of Switzerland revealed that the number of first admittances to psychiatric hospitals of patients suffering from dependence on non-narcotic analgesics had trebled (Kielholz, 1968; Kielholz and Battegay, 1967). Evidence showed that the abuse of analgesics had increased not only in urban districts but also in rural areas. Although an initial enquiry undertaken over the period 1945–1954 (Müller and Kielholz, 1967; Ladewig, 1973) had disclosed that the abuse of analgesics was significantly higher among workers engaged in certain special occupations, such as the watch and textile industries, this difference later ceased to be significant. Patients dependent upon analgesics are predominantly women, the ratio of women to men being 4:1. The age at which the incidence is greatest (i.e., the so-called age of manifestation) is the same for both sexes, namely, 35–45 years. Compared with the normal population, such patients tend to be more frequently either divorced or unmarried.


Migraine Anemia Diarrhea Caffeine Constipation 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Kielholz
  • D. Ladewig

There are no affiliations available

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