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Warning on orally consumed product containing banned and undeclared Western drug ingredients (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (January 11) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume an oral product, "TangBaoKouFuYiDaoSuJiaoNang", as it has been found to contain three undeclared Western drugs, one of which is a banned item in Hong Kong. The product is not a registered pharmaceutical product or a registered proprietary Chinese medicine in Hong Kong.

     The appeal followed DH's receipt of notification from Hospital Authority about a 69-year-old man with diabetes mellitus admitted to hospital on December 26, 2011 because of dizziness, nausea and vomiting. He had a history of consuming the above product. Investigation found that he suffered from hypoglycemia and renal failure. The patient was treated and discharged on December 30, 2011.

     DH commenced investigation immediately.

     "According to the patient, besides the anti-diabetic agents prescribed by his doctor, he has been self-medicating with 'TangBaoKouFuYiDaoSuJiaoNang' for his diabetes for about three months. He bought the product via a website outside Hong Kong. Results from the Government Laboratory today revealed that the product contained the Western medicines metformin and glibenclamide, and a banned drug, phenformin," a DH spokesman said.

     All three drugs are hypoglycaemic agents. Metformin and glibenclamide are prescription drugs, meaning that they should be used under medical supervision. Phenformin, because of the possibility of causing fatal lactic acidosis, has already been banned in Hong Kong since 1985.

     "Improper use of hypoglycaemic agents may cause low blood sugar, which in serious cases, can be fatal. In this case, the blood sugar lowering effect is even more marked, owing to the additive effect of the concomitant use of this product with the patient's usual anti-diabetic medicines," the spokesman added.

     "Patients with chronic diseases like diabetes ought to consult healthcare professionals for appropriate advice and management. They are strongly urged to refrain from self-medication or using over-the-counter products without professional supervision. The consequences can be serious."
     In addition, the spokesman exhorted members of the public not to use products of unknown or doubtful composition from the market or the internet.

     "People who have the product in hand should stop taking it and should consult their healthcare providers as soon as possible because the product may cause life-threatening hypoglycemia and lactic acidosis. Additionally, any of the tainted product which is still in public possession ought to be submitted to the Drug Office of DH at 3/F, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon during office hours for disposal," said the spokesman.

Ends/Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Issued at HKT 21:04


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