SINGAPORE: The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has alerted members of the public to two illegal health products that were detected to contain potent western medicinal ingredients despite claims of all natural ingredients on their product labels.
The products are "JIN LONG Snakes' Bones Rheumatic Capsules" and "Golden Dragon Linzi Dong Mai Dan".
The HSA said a patient in his 60s, who had consumed "JIN LONG Snakes' Bones Rheumatic Capsules" which claimed to treat rheumatism and pain, was found to suffer from Cushing's syndrome and gastric complications.
Another patient in her 50s experienced rapid relief of her pain symptoms after taking "Golden Dragon Linzi Dong Mai Dan".
The HSA said it found the presence of several undeclared medicinal ingredients in the products, including the potent steroids, betamethasone and dexamethasone, and a potent painkiller, piroxicam.
The steroids are usually prescribed for serious swelling and inflammatory conditions and should only be used under strict medical supervision, the authority added.
It warned that long-term unsupervised use of oral steroids can cause increased blood glucose levels leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, muscular and bone disorders, and an increased risk of infections.
Users can also develop Cushing's syndrome, which is characterised by a round face or "moon face", and upper body obesity with thin limbs.
The HSA said that piroxicam should also be used under strict medical supervision as it may potentially cause serious gastric bleeding.
The authority advised members of the public who are consuming the products to consult a doctor as soon as possible before stopping the products.
"Sudden discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, especially when these products are taken for more than a few weeks," the HSA said.
"Undeclared western medicinal ingredients may cause possible adverse effects as well as drug interactions with consumers' own medications which can seriously harm health."
The HSA said it will take strong enforcement actions against those who engage in the sale and supply of health products containing undeclared potent medicinal ingredients.
Anyone found to contravene the Poisons Act faces a penalty of up to S$10,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to two years under the Poisons Act. - CNA/nd
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