Drug-related liver injury: call for better regulation of supplements

Posted 26 July 2021

Medical Journal Australia – InSight 

DOCTORS at a Sydney liver transplant centre have raised concerns about the rising rate of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) cases linked to herbal and dietary supplements, warning these cases are often at the severest end of the spectrum.

Paracetamol remains the drug most commonly linked to DILI, a study of DILI cases at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre found.

There were 115 paracetamol-related cases and 69 non-paracetamol related cases at the centre over the 12 years to 2020. Of the non-paracetamol DILI cases, antibiotics and antifungals were the most commonly implicated medicines (19 cases). However, the proportion of cases linked with herbal and dietary supplements (15 cases) grew steadily over the period, from 15% to 47% of the non-paracetamol cases.

Cases linked with herbal or dietary supplements had especially poor prognoses, the study found, with 90-day … Read the rest

WHO blasted for legitimizing non-evidence-based Chinese medicine

Posted 10 April 2019

The editors of Scientific American have harshly criticized the World Health Organization for including in the 11th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) disorders described in ancient Chinese medicine (ICD-11).

Editors. The World Health Organization gives the nod to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Bad Idea. Scientific American. April 2019

Their key points include:

  • Including traditional Chinese medicine in the ICD is an egregious lapse in evidence-based thinking and practice. Data supporting the effectiveness of most traditional remedies are scant, at best.
  • In China, traditional medicines are unregulated, and they frequently make people sick rather than curing them.
  • Analyses of Chinese remedies have revealed hidden ingredients including banned Western drugs, toxic chemicals, and DNA from endangered species.
  • The proliferation of traditional medicines contributes to destruction of ecosystems and increases the illegal trade of wildlife.
  • Until they undergo rigorous testing for
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Herbal remedies widely linked to liver cancers

Posted 20 October 2017

In an article titled, Herbal remedies embraced by naturopaths, alt med widely linked to liver cancers, published in ArsTechnica, makes the following points:

According to a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, traditional components of herbal remedies used throughout Asia are widely implicated in liver cancers there. In Taiwan, for instance, 78 percent of 98 liver tumors sampled displayed a pattern of mutations consistent with exposure to herbs containing aristolochic acids (AAs). These are carcinogenic components found in a variety of centuries-old herbal remedies said to treat everything from snakebites to gout, asthma, and pain.


In 2000, Belgian doctors reported that about 100 women taking a Chinese herbal treatment from a weight-loss clinic in Brussels experienced kidney failure, and many later developed bladder and urinary tract cancers. Upon investigation, the doctors determined that the AA-containing herb Aristolochia fangchi had been

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Herbal supplements’ illegal ingredients pose health risk, experts warn

Posted 06 February 2016

The Guardian

Friday 3 February 2017

Unlicensed medicines used in obesity or erection remedies could lower blood pressure or raise chances of heart attack

Many herbal supplements, including for obesity and erectile dysfunction, contain hidden unlicensed pharmaceutical ingredients that could endanger people’s health, experts have warned.

The research team, from Queen’s University Belfast, Kingston University in London and the life sciences testing company LGC, concluded that not only do such supplements often make unverified claims as to their benefits but some have illegal ingredients which could pose a threat – potentially causing low blood pressure or an increased risk of heart attacks.

The substances are unlicensed medicines as they are appearing in products classified as food supplements. Among the most common substances identified was sibutramine, according to the study, published in the Journal of the Association of Public Analysts.

Sibutramine was licensed as the medicine Reductil … Read the rest

Herbal products need tighter regulation by TGA

Posted 06 February 2017

Medical Journal Australia
Issue 4 / 6 February 2017

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Chinese herbal medicines contain pesticide residue

Posted 02 July 2013

Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. Although many are likely to have a true health benefit, in fact not many have been evaluated yet for safety or whether they are in fact efficacious. The paradigm of Chinese medicine is unlike Western medicine on a number of levels, including the latter having developed a surveillance system for adverse effects.

This interesting article published in The Guardian highlights a new problem – in trying to increase production of medicinal herbs, pesticides are being used which may result in the final product containing high levels of residual pesticide.

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