HSA issues alert on 2 illegal pain relief products

SINGAPORE: The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Wednesday (Jun 3) issued an alert on two illegal health products sold in Singapore, one of which caused a consumer to be hospitalised for adverse reactions.

HSA added that investigations are ongoing and laboratory tests have found undeclared potent medicinal ingredients in the products.

A woman in her 40s has been hospitalised for “delirium (confusion), high blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance in her blood and suspected Cushing’s syndrome (characterised by a round face or ‘moon face’ and upper body obesity within thin limbs)” after consuming an illegal pain relief product, said HSA.

The woman had been consuming the “powder packed in unlabelled pink sachets” for pain relief over a prolonged period of time because she believed it had “miraculous powers”, HSA added. The powder was found to contain the illegal ingredients Chlorpheniramine and Dexamethasone.

The patient had bought the powder from “an auntie who sells powdered medicine” – a woman in her 60s who would personally deliver the products to the addresses provided by the customers, said HSA.

HSA raided the peddler’s home and discovered another illegal health product – black pills labelled “special effect rheumatism pill”. They were found to contain Dexamethasone and Chlorpheniramine, as well as Bromhexine.

Dexamethasone could cause diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts and Cushing’s syndrome, among other adverse reactions. Chlorpheniramine and Bromhexine could cause symptoms including diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

The authority advised members of the public who have purchased or are consuming the products to:

Consult a doctor as soon as possible before stopping usage as sudden discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms

Avoid buying health products from street peddlers, unknown websites or sellers, or even from well-meaning friends or relatives

Be wary of health products not properly labelled with ingredient information or make exaggerated claims like “instant pain relief”

Seek appropriate medical treatment from a doctor for the management of acute and chronic medical conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism

via HSA issues alert on 2 illegal pain relief products – Channel NewsAsia.

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