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Warning on oral product containing undeclared Western drug ingredients (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (March 21) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume an oral product called "CO Feng Shi Gu Tong Ning Jiao Nang", as it may contain multiple undeclared Western drugs that are dangerous to health.

     The appeal followed the DH's receipt of notification from the Hospital Authority (HA) about an 83-year-old female patient. The DH commenced investigation immediately.

     A DH spokesman said, "The patient had a history of multiple medical problems. She was sent to the Accident and Emergency Department of North District Hospital on March 9 because of loss of consciousness. She was found to have adrenal insufficiency after admission. She described a history of consumption of the above oral product for joint pain. Thus, a drug-related adverse effect was suspected clinically. She was discharged from hospital on March 13 after treatment.

     "Today, the HA's laboratory test on the product sample showed the presence of multiple undeclared Western medicines, including prednisone, diclofenac, ibuprofen, hydrochlorothiazide, metoclopramide and trimethoprim. Preliminary investigation revealed that the product is not a registered proprietary Chinese medicine of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong and it was purchased in the Mainland by a relative of the patient. The DH's investigation is continuing."

     The spokesman explained, "Prednisone is a steroid and a prescription-only medicine. Taking prednisone for a long time, especially in a substantial dosage, can cause side effects such as moon face, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, muscle atrophy, peptic ulcer, adrenal insufficiency and even osteoporosis. Diclofenac and ibuprofen are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to relieve pain and inflammation. Their known side effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, peptic ulcer and renal impairment. It is well known that users will have increased risks of developing complications like gastrointestinal ulcers, some of which may be undetected until more serious complications like gastrointestinal bleeding set in. Hydrochlorothiazide is used as a diuretic and also for the treatment of hypertension. It may cause hypotension and electrolyte imbalance. Metoclopramide is used to relieve nausea and vomiting but it may occasionally affect muscular movement. Trimethoprim is an antibiotic and should only be sold on a doctor's prescription and dispensed under a pharmacist's supervision."

     The spokesman urged members of the public who feel unwell or in doubt after taking the product to consult health-care professionals as soon as possible. In addition, they are advised not to buy or consume products of unknown composition or from doubtful sources. People with arthritis and joint pain should consult health-care professionals for appropriate advice or treatment.

Ends/Thursday, March 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:49


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