28 February 2013
The Department of Health (DH) today (February 28) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume an oral product called "Fu Fang Feng Shi Gu Kang Ling Jiao Nang", as it may contain multiple undeclared Western drugs that are dangerous to health.
The appeal followed the DH's receipt of notification from the Hospital Authority (HA) about an 83-year-old male patient. The DH commenced investigation immediately.
A DH spokesman said, "The patient was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital on February 20 because of oedema of lower limbs for a few months. He described a recent history of consumption of the above oral product for joint pain. Thus, a drug-related adverse effect was suspected clinically. He was discharged from hospital on February 21 after treatment.
"Today, the HA's laboratory test on the product sample showed the presence of multiple undeclared Western medicines, including prednisone, diclofenac, indomethacin, ibuprofen, piroxicam and metoclopramide. Preliminary investigation revealed that the product is not a registered proprietary Chinese medicine of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong and the patient obtained the product from a friend. The exact source where the patient's friend purchased the product has yet to be ascertained. The DH's investigation is continuing."
The spokesman explained, "Prednisone is a steroid and a prescription-only medicine. Taking prednisone for a long time, especially in a substantial dosage, can cause side effects such as moon face, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, muscle atrophy, peptic ulcer, adrenal insufficiency and even osteoporosis. Diclofenac, indomethacin, ibuprofen and piroxicam are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to relieve pain and inflammation. Their known side effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, peptic ulcer and renal impairment. It is well known that users will have increased risks of developing complications like gastrointestinal ulcers, some of which may be undetected until more serious complications like gastrointestinal bleeding set in. Metoclopramide is used to relieve nausea and vomiting, but it may occasionally affect muscular movement."
The spokesman stressed, "Members of the public feeling unwell or in doubt after taking the product should consult health-care professionals as soon as possible. In addition, they are advised not to buy or consume products of unknown composition or from doubtful sources. People with arthritis and joint pain should consult health-care professionals for appropriate advice or treatment."