Archive for the ‘kidney disease’ Category

Import ban of 30+ generic drugs from India & melamine-contaminated milk from China

September 17, 2008

More than thirty (30) drugs which include acyclovir, cirprofloxacin and simvastatin, manufactured in two Ranbaxy Laboratories (Dewas and Poenta Sahib plants) in India will not be permitted into the US. Without asking for recall of drugs already on the shelf, the Food Drug Administration (FDA,) the decision is based on the lack of compliance to safety and manufacturing standards by the Indian drug company.

The Food Drug Administration says no report of harm has been so far reported.

List of Drugs with Stop Order

acyclovir, cefprozil, cefuroxime axetil, cephalexin, ciprofloxacin HCl, clarithromycin, fenofibrate, fluconazole, fosinopril sodium, fosinopril sodium and hydrochlorothiazide, gabapentin, glimepiride, isotrentinoin, lamivudine, loratadine OTC, metformin HCl, nefazodone HCl, nitrofurantoin, nitrofurantoin and macrocystalline, ofloxacin, pravastatin sodium, ranitidine, simvastatin, terazozin HCl, valacyclovir HCl, and zidovudine (PEPFAR).” Medical News Today (09/16/08, Agus, Z, MD)

In a similar vein, in a growing scare after imported milk laced with melamine, a chemical substance used to “increase protein content” of milk has been reported to have killed undetermined number of babies and sickened at least 1,253 babies in China. It’s the same chemical that killed pet dogs in USA and Europe afte being fed imported Chinese milk reported earlier.

Melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics such as plates and saucers, is known to cause urinary malfunction, stones and failure of the kidneys when ingested.

Toxic History of China’s Products

— Half of all dangerous goods seized in Europe in 2007 came from China
— Last year China found two companies guilty of intentionally exporting contaminated pet food
— US authorities last year gave warning that monkfish imported from China may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin
— In 2005 Sudan 1, a carcinogenic food colouring, was found in Chinese branches of KFC
— In January a survey found almost two thirds of Chinese people were worried about food safety
Sources: European Commission, Times archives /TimesOnline(09/15/08)/ChinaDaily/Reuters

Produced by Sanlu, China’s biggest milk power-maker halted its milk production. Ninetten (19) people were arrested in connection with the scandal of greed and lack of concern for people’s lives. The investigation of the scandal was delayed by a ban of news of this nature during the Beijing Olympics.

These two reports have practical implications in the Philippines who partly rely on India for its imports of medicines. They have more resonance with the passage of the Cheap Drug Legislation of 2008 signed into law of Pres. Gloria M. Macapagal. China also sells products to the Philippines which need tighter watch for adulteration and toxic contamination. =0=

UPDATE: On September 25, 2008, the PDI reported that 2 million kilos of milk was imported by the Philippines from China from Jan. to Aug. 2008. As the scandal of the melamine-contaminated milk widens worldwide, about 53,000 children, mostly in China, have been reported to have been sickened and several babies died. The DOH is monitoring hospitals for reports of children getting sick as result of ingesting milk and milk products.

Dengue: an ecologic disease needing community support

August 18, 2008

In Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines dengue is reportedly up by 500%. Compared to last year’s 187 cases, 994 have so far been recorded with 7 deaths from January to August 2008. The same rising trend occurs in other places in the country. The mosquito-borne viral disease which comes in a predictable seasonal fashion has increased.

That’s why the advice of Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III urging the public to clean villages to destroy breeding areas of mosquitoes makes a lot of sense. But are we doing it? Are we hearing him loud and clear? Individuals, families, barangays, support groups, NGO’s, government authorities, hospitals, the DOH must work together to control the disease.

Dengue is a man-made problem related to human behaviour which is affected by “globalization, rapid unplanned and unregulated urban development, poor water storage and unsatisfactory sanitary conditions. These factors provide an increase in the breeding habitats of the mosquito.” says Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia, Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang.

The dengue virus spreads through the bite of the infectious female Aedes mosquito, primarily Aedes aegypti, which breeds in artificial containers and improperly managed garbage where clean or clear water accumulates. Since dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever are ecological diseases, prevention is the key to effective control. Surveillance of vectors and the disease are critical because outbreaks of dengue are generally preceded by increased vector populations in local areas.”

Vector control, such as the control of mosquito breeding in domestic and peri-domestic areas, is imperative for prevention of dengue,” said Dr Jai P. Narain, Director of Communicable Diseases for WHO SEARO.

Individuals, families, community support groups, self-help groups, NGOs, local authorities and departments of health need to work together to address the current situation because dengue is everyone’s concern—-World Health Organization (WHO)SEA/PRA/1446 (08/09/07)

Vaccine is yet to be developed to fight dengue. Since there’s no medicine or antibiotic specific for the viral disease, treatment is basically supportive. Physicians and caregivers are expected to follow national guidelines in treating dengue. =0=

Health & Politics: casting away some of Balimbing’s bad rap

August 13, 2008

This fruit can end your life!” says the email I got last week about balimbing (scientific name: Averrhoa carambola, family: Oxalidaceae, starfruit, bilimbi, carambola.) I thought it’s such an alarmist post that I need to comment. Besides, the exotic edible fruit traditionally carries a bad name in Philippine politics.

Vilified in our native Filipino language because of its curious shape and tarty taste, balimbing is a unique tropical fruit and a butt of jokes. Eaten raw, or used in fruit juices and salads, it’s equated with turn-coatism, flip-flopping, and lack of loyalty that’s common among traitors and politicians. The attractive star-shaped balimbing with its edgy sides and shiny yellow-green skin (fancied by fruit-faddists worldwide,) is therefore maligned and rejected. But the fruit isn’t that bad.

There are of reports though that balimbing harbors a neurotoxin that causes hiccups, seizures, numbness, psycho-motor agitation, confusion, nausea, vomiting, weakness and other neurologic signs and symptoms. With no correlation between the severity and amount ingested, the manifestations typically occur about 30 minutes to 6 hours after eating the fruit. Treatable by dialysis, the manifestations show in patients with impaired renal function, especially among those with renal failure. Because of the yet-to-be-identified toxin, people with failing kidneys, must not eat the fruit. (Nephro Dial Transplant (2003) 18: 120-125.)

Balimbing’s toxicity is ascribed to a suspected neurotoxin that crosses the blood brain barrier and accumulates in the body when not properly excreted in the urine. Without much scientific basis, some say it’s perhaps the oxalic acid content of the fruit that’s causing the trouble. Others theorize that the toxin is a potent inhibitor of the cytochrome p450 pathway in cellular metabolism which bring recall another fruit—this time the grapefruit’s inhibitory effects of certain medications.

However, since its first cultivation and consumption in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Pacific, the Philippines, and other parts of Asia, to my knowledge, balimbing is safe to eat by people who aren’t ill. There are limited documented scientific studies from Brazil and Hongkong that the fruit isn’t good for those with renal disease, but normal people can eat it without trouble. =0=