Ponstan is an anti-inflammatory used to treat pain and inflammation, especially period pain. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Ponstan is also called mefenamic acid.
On this page, you can find the following information:
- What is Ponstan?
- How to take Ponstan
- When is taking Ponstan a concern?
- Taking Ponstan with other pain medicines
- Taking Ponstan with blood pressure medicines
- What are the side effects of Ponstan?
Ponstan is in a group of medicines known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It's used to treat different types of pain especially painful periods (menstruation), and heavy bleeding in periods.
Ponstan works by reducing hormones called prostaglandins in the lining of your uterus (womb). These hormones can cause heavy periods and period pain. Ponstan helps to ease period pain and reduce heavy bleeding from periods, but does not reduce the number of days the period lasts.
Ponstan also provides short term relief of dental pain and pain associated with muscle and joint injuries such as sprains, strains and tendonitis.
In New Zealand Ponstan is available as capsules.
- The usual dose of Ponstan is 500 mg 3 times a day.
- If you are using Ponstan for painful periods, take your first dose as soon as your period starts or pain begins, until the pain eases. If you are taking it for heavy bleeding, take it for no more than 7 days.
- Always take Ponstan exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.
- Take Ponstan with food or immediately after food, to prevent stomach upset.
- Take your dose with a full glass of water.
- Swallow the capsules whole — don't crush or chew them.
- Avoid or limit alcohol while you are taking Ponstan. Alcohol can increase the risk of stomach side effects.
- It's not harmful if you miss your Ponstan dose. If you miss a dose, take it when you remember, with or after food. Don't take double the dose.
For most people taking Ponstan is safe, but extra care is needed in some situations. For example if:
- you have high blood pressure
- you have heart or kidney problems or asthma
- you're aged 65 years or older
- you smoke.
It can also be harmful if you take Ponstan when you are dehydrated or have been sick with diarrhoea (runny poos) or vomiting (being sick). Read more about the risks of NSAIDs.
|When you should NOT take Ponstan|
Ponstan should NOT be used in some situations as it can be harmful. For example, if you:
Read more about the risks associated with NSAIDs.
Don't take other anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen or celecoxib while taking Ponstan.
It's safe to take Ponstan with paracetamol because they work differently.
Ponstan interacts with some medicines, especially those used for high blood pressure, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking Ponstan.
Image credit: University of Otago
Taking NSAIDs together with blood pressure medicines can be harmful to your kidneys. This is called the ‘triple whammy’. If you are taking blood pressure medicines (ACE inhibitors or ARBs and diuretics) tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting Ponstan.
- Examples of ACE inhibitors are captopril, cilazapril, enalapril, lisinopril, perindopril and quinapril.
- Examples of ARBs are candesartan, irbesartan and losartan.
- Examples of diuretics are furosemide, bumetanide, bendroflumethiazide, chlortalidone, indapamide, spironolactone, eplerenone and metolazone.
Read more about the triple whammy.
|Side effects||What should I do?|
|Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.|
The following links provide further information about mefenamic acid. Be aware that websites from other countries may have information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.
Ponstan Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets, NZ
Mefenamic acid for pain and inflammation (Ponstan) Patient info, UK