Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
DH investigates confirmed case of solanaceous alkaloid poisoning

     The Department of Health (DH) today (May 31) announced for the public's information a confirmed case of solanaceous alkaloid poisoning after consumption of Chinese herbs.

     The incident first came to light because of notification by the Hospital Authority (HA). On May 28, a 64-year-old woman developed symptoms and signs compatible with solanaceous alkaloid poisoning, including dizziness, blurring of vision and dry mouth, after consuming Chinese herbal medicines for headache and dizziness. The medicines were prescribed by a registered Chinese medicine practitioner and dispensed by a licensed Chinese medicine retailer, Herbal Health Cares at Flat/Room G36A2, G/F, Discovery Bay Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island. She was admitted to a public hospital and was subsequently discharged after receiving treatment.

     The DH conducted immediate investigation upon the notification. Preliminary investigation revealed that the patient was dispensed with 15 Chinese herbs by the retailer. The herbs dispensed to the patient could not account for the presence of solanaceous alkaloids as detected, based on the Chinese medicine literature. Field investigation at the retailer did not identify gross contamination of the herbs by solanaceous alkaloid-containing herbs. Samples of Chinese herbs were obtained from the retailer for chemical analysis. The investigation is continuing.

     The HA's laboratory testing results today showed the presence of solanaceous alkaloids in the patient's urine sample.

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

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

     As a precaution, members of the public with Chinese herbs dispensed by the retailer are advised to stop using them if they feel unwell and to seek advice from health-care professionals.

Ends/Friday, May 31, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:49


Print this page