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HSA warns against illegal painkiller

  Tuesday, 14 l 12 l 2010 Source:  The Straits Times   
By: Leow Si Wan

jianbu hujian wanCONSUMERS in Singapore have been warned against consuming an illegal health product called Jianbu Huqian Wan. In a press statement sent out yesterday, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said it had tested the product, which is supposed to treat painful joints, muscle aches and weak limbs, and found that it contained two undeclared potent Western medicinal ingredients.  

The two – dexamethasone and chlorpheniramine – are controlled under the Poisons Act. Unsupervised and long-term use of dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory medicine, can result in increased blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and mental disorders, among other ill effects.  Chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine commonly found in cold medications, causes drowsiness, confusion and urinary problems.   

The HSA was alerted about the red and white capsules by a member of the public. She became suspicious when her 70-year-old mother experienced rapid relief from body aches after taking the medicine over a short period of time. The elderly woman’s glucose levels rose after taking the product. She gained weight rapidly and developed varicose veins with blood clots. She has since stopped taking the product and is recovering. 

According to the HSA, she had bought the product from Malaysia. Its label carries an invalid Malaysian Product Registration Number and contains inaccurate information about its manufacturer and distributor. Jianbu Huqian Wan has not been approved by the HSA and, based on records, is not sold here. 

A check with seven traditional Chinese medicine shops showed the product was not available for sale and the store owners were unaware of it.

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