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Generic Name: mefenamic acid
Product Name: Ponstan

Indication: What Ponstan is used for

Ponstan is used to relieve the symptoms of period pain and treat heavy periods.

It also provides short-term relief of pain in conditions such as:

  • Muscle and joint injuries such as sprains, strains, and tendonitis;
  • Dental pain.

Although Ponstan can relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation, it will not cure your condition.

Your doctor may have prescribed Ponstan for another reason. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Ponstan has been prescribed for you.

Ponstan is not addictive.

Action: How Ponstan works

Ponstan containing mefenamic acid belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs). These medicines work by relieving pain and inflammation.

Ponstan has demonstrated analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties. These effects may be due to Ponstan’s dual action on prostaglandins. It inhibits the enzymes of prostaglandin synthetase and also antagonises the actions of prostaglandin at the receptor sites. These effects may also be responsible for its effectiveness in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea.

Each Ponstan capsule contains 250 mg mefenamic acid.

It also contains the inactive ingredients lactose monohydrate, titanium dioxide, iron oxide yellow, brilliant blue, gelatin, and carbon black.

Ponstan does not contain sucrose, gluten, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.

Dose advice: How to use Ponstan

Before you take Ponstan

When you must not take it

Do not take Ponstan if:

  • You have an allergy to:
    • Mefenamic acid or any of the ingredients listed here;
    • Aspirin;
    • Any other NSAID medicine including COX-2 inhibitors.
  • Many medicines used to treat headache, period pain or other aches and pains contain aspirin or NSAID medicines.
  • If you are not sure if you are taking any of these medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction to these medicines may include:
    • Asthma, wheezing or shortness of breath;
    • Swelling of the face, lips or tongue which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing;
    • Hives, itching or skin rash;
    • Fainting.
    • If you are allergic to aspirin or NSAID medicines and take Ponstan, these symptoms may be severe.

Do not take Ponstan if:

  • You had diarrhoea with this medicine in the past. Diarrhoea may recur if you take Ponstan again;
  • You have a gastric ulcer (i.e. stomach or duodenal ulcer), a recent history of one, or have had gastric ulcers before;
  • You have or have had inflammation and/or ulceration of the lining of the stomach or bowel. Some examples of these conditions include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis;
  • You have kidney disease;
  • You have severe heart failure;
  • You have liver failure;
  • You are about to have coronary artery bypass surgery;
  • Children under 14 years of age.

Do not take Ponstan if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering. Do not take Ponstan if the expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack has passed. If you take this medicine after the expiry date has passed, it may not work as well.

If you are not sure if you should start taking Ponstan contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Before you start to take it

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies to:

  • Any other medicines including aspirin or other NSAID medicines;
  • Any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:

  • Vomiting blood or bleeding from the back passage;
  • Heart failure, heart attack, stroke;
  • Heart disease. Use of Ponstan may increase your risk of developing cardiovascular events (e.g. heart attack) even if you don’t have a history of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure;
  • Blood clots;
  • A tendency to bleed or other blood problems such as anaemia;
  • Heartburn, indigestion, stomach ulcer or other stomach problems;
  • Bowel or intestinal problems such as ulcerative colitis;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Asthma;
  • Pinkish, itchy swellings on the skin (also called hives) or any other skin rash.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are using an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Ponstan may affect your developing baby if you take it during pregnancy. Pregnant woman taking Ponstan should be closely monitored by their doctor.

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Ponstan passes into breast milk and may affect your baby. Your doctor will discuss with you the benefits and risks of taking this medicine.

If you have not told your doctor or pharmacist about any of the above, tell them before you take any Ponstan.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Some medicines may interfere with Ponstan. These include:

  • Aspirin including low doses of aspirin used to prevent your blood from clotting in certain heart conditions;
  • Warfarin or similar medicines including Eliquis, Xarelto or Pradaxa that are used to stop blood clots;
  • Some medicines used to treat high blood pressure;
  • Corticosteroids, medicines used to suppress the immune system or reduce inflammation;
  • Some medicines used to treat diabetes;
  • Lithium, a medicine used to treat mood swings in patients with bipolar disorder;
  • Cyclosporin or tacrolimus, medicines used to suppress the immune system;
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, medicines used for depression;
  • Methotrexate, a medicine used to treat arthritis and some cancers.

These medicines may be affected by Ponstan or may affect how well it works. You may need to take different amounts of your medicine, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor will advise you.

Your doctor and pharmacist may have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking Ponstan.

How to take Ponstan

Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully. They may differ from the information contained here.

If you do not understand the instructions on the pack, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.

How much to take

The usual dose of Ponstan is 2 capsules (500 mg) three times daily with meals.

Your doctor may recommend a different dose. This may depend on your age, your condition and whether or not you are taking any other medicines.

Take Ponstan exactly as your doctor has prescribed.

How to take it

Swallow Ponstan capsules whole with a full glass of water. Do not chew them.

Take Ponstan with or after food. This may help reduce the possibility of stomach upset.

How long to take it

Do not take Ponstan for longer than your doctor says.

Do not exceed the dosage recommended by your doctor.

If you are not sure how long to take Ponstan, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

If you need to take Ponstan for a long time, see your doctor for regular check-ups so that they can monitor your condition and treatment.

If you forget to take it

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to. Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember, and then go back to taking your capsules as you would normally.

Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed. This may increase the chance of you getting an unwanted side effect.

If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints.

If you take too much (overdose)

Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre (telephone Australia 13 11 26 or New Zealand 0800 POISON or 0800 764 766) for advice, or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital, if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much Ponstan.  Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention.

If you take too much Ponstan, you may experience pain or tenderness in the stomach, diarrhoea, muscle twitches, seizure (fit), confusion, dizziness or hallucination.

While you are taking Ponstan

Things you must do

If you become pregnant while taking Ponstan tell your doctor immediately.

If you are about to start taking any new medicine tell your doctor and pharmacist that you are taking Ponstan.

Tell all of the doctors, dentists, and pharmacists that are treating you that you are taking Ponstan.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your doctor you are taking Ponstan.

If you get an infection while using Ponstan, tell your doctor. Ponstan may hide some of the signs of an infection and may make you think, mistakenly, that you are well or that it is not serious. Signs of an infection may include fever, pain, swelling, and redness.

If you need to have any medical tests while you are taking Ponstan, tell your doctor. Ponstan may affect the results of some tests.

Things you must not do

Do not give Ponstan to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.

Do not take Ponstan to treat any other complaints unless your doctor tells you to.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how Ponstan affects you. As with other NSAID medicines, Ponstan may cause dizziness or light-headedness in some people. Make sure you know how you react to Ponstan before you drive a car, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or light-headed. If this occurs do not drive.

If you drink alcohol, dizziness or lightheadedness may be worse.

Be careful of ingesting alcohol whilst taking Ponstan. As with other NSAID medicines ingesting alcohol may increase your risk of developing gastro intestinal complications.

After taking Ponstan


Keep your capsules in the pack until it is time to take them. If you take the capsules out of the pack they will not keep well.

Keep the capsules in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 30°C. Do not store Ponstan or any other medicine in the bathroom or near a sink. Do not leave it in the car or on window sills. Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.

Keep Ponstan where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.


If your doctor tells you to stop taking Ponstan or the capsules have passed their expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to do with any that are left over.

Schedule of Ponstan

Ponstan is a Schedule 4 – prescription only medicine.

Side effects of Ponstan

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Ponstan. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects.

It can be difficult to tell whether side effects are the result of taking Ponstan, effects of your condition or side effects of other medicines you may be taking. For this reason, it is important to tell your doctor about any change in your condition.

If you are over 65 years of age you may have an increased chance of getting side effects.

Do not be alarmed by the list of side effects. You may not experience any of them.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor if

Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

These are the more common side effects of Ponstan.

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:

  • Severe dizziness;
  • Severe or persistent headache;
  • Severe pain or tenderness in the stomach;
  • Severe diarrhoea;
  • Eye problems such as blurred vision or loss of colour vision;
  • Ear pain;
  • Fast or irregular heartbeats, also called palpitations;
  • Excessive sweating;
  • Signs of frequent or worrying infections such as fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers;
  • Bleeding or bruising more easily than normal, reddish or purplish blotches under the skin;
  • Worsening blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes;
  • Signs of anaemia, such as tiredness, being short of breath, and looking pale;
  • A change in the colour of urine passed, blood in the urine;
  • A change in the amount or frequency of urine passed, burning feeling when passing urine;
  • Bulky, grey or pale coloured stools;
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes, also called jaundice;
  • Unusual weight gain, swelling of ankles or legs.

The above list includes serious side effects that may require medical attention.

Go to hospital if

Tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if any of the following happen:;

  • Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds;
  • Bleeding from the back passage, black sticky bowel motions (stools) or bloody diarrhoea;
  • Swelling of the face, lips or tongue which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing;
  • Asthma, wheezing, shortness of breath;
  • Sudden or severe itching, skin rash, hives;
  • Fainting, seizures or fits;
  • Pain or tightness in the chest;
  • Fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and extreme sensitivity to bright light;
  • Severe blisters and bleeding on the lips, eyes, mouth, nose, and genitals.

These are very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation. These side effects are rare.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don’t understand anything on this list.

Some of the other possible side effects can only be found when your doctor does tests from time to time to check your progress.

For further information talk to your doctor.


  1. Ponstan Consumer Medicine Information (CMI). West Ryde, NSW: Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. April 2017. [PDF]
  2. Ponstan Product Information (PI). West Ryde, NSW: Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. March 2017. [PDF]

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Posted On: 22 July, 2003
Modified On: 14 June, 2018
Reviewed On: 14 June, 2018


Created by: myVMC