Hong Kong Health Department Requests Suspension Of Marketing And Sale Of Zelmac

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The Department of Health has requested a pharmaceutical company, Novartis Hong Kong Limited, to suspend marketing and sale of Zelmac, a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation.

The request was made following studies findings showed an increase of cardiovascular adverse events in patients treated with Zelmac. The majority of patients with these adverse events had medical history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

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"Zelmac is a prescription-only medicine registered in Hong Kong in 2002. It is mainly used by Hospital Authority hospitals, and by some private hospitals and private doctors, all have been informed by Novartis about the suspension" a DH spokesman said.

"DH has not received any reports of adverse effects arising from the use of the drug," the said.

"A letter from Novartis to doctors in Hong Kong regarding Zelmac has been posted on the DH's website www.psdh.gov.hk. DH will continue to monitor the situation" he added.

"Members of the public who are taking this drug are advised to consult their doctors," the spokesman said.

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