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DH investigates a confirmed case of solanaceous alkaloid poisoning

     The Department of Health (DH) today (November 23) announced for the public's information a confirmed case of solanaceous alkaloid poisoning after consumption of Chinese herbs.

     A DH spokesman said that the incident was first came to light because of notification by the Hospital Authority (HA) today. On November 15, a 31-year-old lady developed symptoms and signs compatible with solanaceous alkaloid poisoning, including dizziness, dried mouth, limbs weakness, confusion and dilated pupils, after consuming Chinese herbal medicines for coughing dispensed and prepared by a licensed Chinese medicines retailer, Ho Fai Ginseng Dried Marine Product Hong, in Sheung Shui. Her symptoms subsided after receiving treatment in a public hospital and was discharged home.
     HA's laboratory testing results today showed the presence of solanaceous alkaloids in both the lady's urine and the herbal broth.

     The patient was prescribed a formula comprising 24 Chinese herbs by a listed Chinese medicine practitioner stationed in the retailer. The herbs in the patient's formula could not account for the presence of all solanaceous alkaloids as detected, based on the Chinese medicine literature. DH inspectors did not identify gross contamination of Chinese herbs on site during the investigation at the retailer today. Samples of Chinese herbs were obtained from the retailer for laboratory testing. Investigation continues.

     Solanaceous alkaloids cause anticholinergic symptoms like blurred vision, dry mouth, dizziness and confusion. They can lead to death in severe cases

     So far, DH has not received any other report of related adverse incidents. While the investigation continues, healthcare professionals should be on the alert and report to DH if they come across suspicious cases.

     As a precaution, members of the public who have been dispensed Chinese herbs from the retailer are advised to stop using them if they feel unwell and seek advice from healthcare professionals.

Ends/Friday, November 23, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:21


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