Unlabelled Chinese Medicine Ingredient Found In A Health Product

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Hong Kong Department of Health called on members of the public not to consume a health product named as "Zhang Zhen Ren Shan Fu Wan" as this product is found to have contained unlabelled Chinese medicine ingredient. Improper consumption may lead to poisoning.

The department made the appeal after investigating into two suspected poisoning cases recently reported by the Hospital Authority concerning two female patients, aged 82 and 36 respectively, who felt unwell after taking the product.

In the first case, the 82-year-old woman had an acute onset of chest discomfort, dizziness and sweating at the end of November and was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH). In the other case, a 36-year-old woman was admitted to PWH for palpitation, facial and limb numbness in early March. Urine specimens of both patients revealed "aconitum alkaloid" and both of them were later discharged.

Investigation revealed that they had taken the above product which they purchased in China before onset.

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Laboratory tests conducted by the Government on the product confirmed today the presence of aconitum alkaloid. The amount of aconitum alkaloid intake will be overdose according to the recommended dosage listed on the product and that may cause adverse reactions. Both patients had consumed more than the recommended dosage.

Chinese herb containing aconitum alkaloid is not listed as one of the product’s ingredient contents.

A spokesman for the department said that aconitnum alkaloid, a kind of plant consitituent, is found in a number of herbs including raw and processed Radix Aconiti, Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii and Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata. These herbs can be used to reduce musculoskeletal pain. Improper use may lead to symptoms of aconitum alkaloid poisoning, including numbness of mouth and limbs, nausea and vomiting, limb weakness, breathing difficulty and cardiac arrhythmias.

According to record, this product is not registered nor imported in Hong Kong.

The spokesman said it was important that the aconitum alkaloid containing herbs were used under prescription and, when used internally, adequately boiled to prevent intoxication.

"Members of the public are advised to seek medical advice if they are ill and avoid inappropriate self medication. They should seek attention promptly if they develop adverse reactions after taking medicines," he added.

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