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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

Singapore: HSA Alerts Public to 'Hai Leng Hai Beh Herbal Itch Removing Capsule' (‘海龙海马止痒丸’) Purchased Overseas Which Led to Serious Adverse Reaction in Patient
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or consume a health product labelled ‘Hai Leng Hai Beh Herbal Itch Removing Capsule’ (‘海龙海马止痒丸’), which caused rapid weight gain and round ‘moon face’ in a consumer. Laboratory tests revealed the presence of undeclared potent medicinal ingredients dexamethasone, chlorpheniramine and paracetamol, although it was labelled “100% herbal”.

A female consumer in her 40s had taken the capsules to relieve an itchy skin condition. Although her itchy skin condition improved within a day of taking the capsules, she experienced rapid weight gain and her face became puffy after consuming the product for over two months. She was diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome (which is characterised by round face or ‘moon face’ and upper body obesity with thin limbs) and her doctor reported the case to HSA. The patient purchased the product from a retail store overseas after it was recommended to her by a relative.

Dexamethasone is a potent steroid that is usually prescribed for inflammatory conditions and should only be used under strict medical supervision. Long-term unsupervised use of oral steroids can cause Cushing’s syndrome, increased blood glucose levels leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, muscular and bone disorders, and an increased risk of infections.

Members of the public who have purchased or are consuming this product are advised to:
- Consult a doctor as soon as possible. Do not stop the use of ‘Hai Leng Hai Beh Herbal Itch Removing Capsule’ immediately as sudden discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, especially when it has been consumed for more than a few weeks.
- Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need help for the management of your acute and chronic medical symptoms and conditions (e.g. eczema).
- Be wary of any health products that produce unexpected quick recovery of medical conditions, especially when purchasing them from sources which you may not be familiar with, even if well-meaning friends or relatives have recommended them. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They may be illegal, counterfeit or substandard, and may contain undeclared ingredients which can harm your health.

Please refer to the following website in HSA for details:

In Hong Kong, the above product is not a registered pharmaceutical product.

Ends/ Friday, May 06, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:00
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