Proprietary Chinese medicine with western drug ingredients
(with photo)

    The Department of Health (DH) today (September 28) called on people not to buy or use a brand of proprietary Chinese medicine ¡°Yi Su Kang Jiao Nang¡± which contained Western drug ingredients that may cause side effects.

     The appeal followed an investigation into a case involving a 55-year-old man who was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. He has recovered and been discharged.

     The patient revealed a history of taking the product for diabetes for 10 months and the product was obtained from the Mainland. It was suspected that his symptoms were caused by the product.

     A DH spokesman said that a sample of the product taken for laboratory tests was found to contain Western drug ingredients -- phenformin and glibenclamide.

     Phenformin had been banned in Hong Kong since 1985 and was previously used for management of diabetes.  Phenformin was associated with an unacceptably high incidence of lactic acidosis  which could be fatal.

     Glibenclamide is a Western drug ingredient used for management of diabetes.  It should only be used under medical supervision.  Its known side-effects are nausea and gastro-intestinal upset. Products containing this drug ingredient are Third Schedule poisons under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance and can only be sold on a doctor¡¯s prescription and supervision by a pharmacist.

     People who have been using the product are advised to immediately stop taking it and seek medical attention.

     They should dispose of the product or submit the product to the DH¡¯s Pharmaceutical Service at the third floor, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon during office hours.

     The DH has no record of this product having been imported into Hong Kong for sale, or having been submitted for registration. DH has informed the relevant authorities on the Mainland and Macau about this case.

     The spokesman said that people with diabetes should consult medical professionals for appropriate advice or medication if necessary.

     DH has set up a telephone hotline 2319 2839 during office hours for answering health enquiries from the public.

Ends/Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Issued at HKT 18:37