A rare allergic reaction to a drug commonly prescribed for stomach disorders caused the death of a 48-year-old mother-of-four in August of last year, an inquest has heard.

An open verdict was returned at a hearing into the death of Amanda Niland, Mountain, Aughamore, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo.

Mayo Coroner Patrick O'Connor called on the manufacturers to carry out a detailed analysis into the potential side effects of the drug, Colofac.

Earlier, the coroner heard from Dr Tamas Nemeth, the consultant pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination, that the anaphylactic shock that caused Ms Niland's death was most likely caused by Colofac (Mebeverine), a smooth muscle relaxant.

Her husband Damien Niland gave evidence that on 16 August last, his wife had been at the doctor and had been prescribed medication.

Mr Niland explained that after dinner that evening his wife took one of the tablets.

In a statement read to the inquest, he continued: "She started itching at her hand and she was not feeling great and she got up again to read the instructions.

"She came back to the table again and her whole body was going mad with itch. I suggested that she go and take a shower to cool the itch and she went to the bedroom.

"I then heard her call as I was reading about the side effects of what she had taken. I found her standing at the end of the bed holding on to it.

"I brought her out into the hallway. Her lips had gone white. The colour had left them and they were starting to swell and she could not get her breath."

Mr Niland told the inquest that it was the first time ever his wife had taken the Colofac tablet and she had never taken the medication previously.

The itching had started about four to five minutes after a single tablet, the witness explained.

After CPR, Ms Niland was rushed by ambulance to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, where she later died.

In his post-mortem report, Dr Nemeth said that any allergic reaction to Colofac or other tablets was extremely unusual.

The medication was readily available on prescription, the pathologist said.

He added that if Ms Niland had been in hospital when the tablet was taken she would have had a good chance of survival.

Dr Nemeth agreed with the coroner that the pharmaceutical company which makes Colofac should be asked to further investigate the side effects of the medication.

The pathologist added that in his opinion death was due to "unnatural causes".

The coroner said he endorsed the suggestion by the pathologist that the manufacturers should carry out a detailed analysis into the side effects of the drug as the public need to be advised of any dangers.

"Something must be learned from this," Mr O'Connor added.