supplements linked to Scandinavian deaths
of Article: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/Tainted-turmeric-supplements-linked-to-Scandinavian-deaths
By Shane Starling, 23-Mar-2009
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has
warned the UK public to avoid a brand of turmeric food supplements
containing a drug called nimesulide after it was linked to two deaths and
several liver damage cases in Scandinavia.
The product in question, branded as Fortodol or
Leppin Miradin, drew the attention of medical agencies after 11
liver-related adverse event reports in Sweden and a further five in
Norway, including the deaths.
Nimesulide is not authorised as a medicine in
In response, the FSA said in a statement on
Friday: “There have been no reports of liver failure or illness linked
with these products in the UK. As a precautionary measure, however, these
products have been voluntarily withdrawn from sale by the two main
importers and recall notices will be placed in the shops selling these
Fortodol and Miradin are usually sold in the UK
via the internet as food supplements, often accompanied by
unsubstantiated claims to relieve arthritis, muscle pains and headaches.
The products are made by a Californian company
called Donsbach, which typically exports the products to Sweden before
they are shipped throughout Europe.
One of the Swedish cases involved a fatal liver
failure which is under investigation by the Swedish Medical Products
Agency. The Norwegian Medical Products Agency is conducting
investigations of its own.
The FSA warning has been backed by the UK
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which, as its
name suggests, governs medicines in the UK.
Nimesulide is an anti-inflammatory drug known to
cause liver problems.
“Consumption of products that may contain
undeclared and uncontrolled amounts of nimesulide represents a
significant risk,” the MHRA said.
A similar scare in Hungary was given the
all-clear by the regulator there after investigations revealed a lack of
nimesulide at hazardous levels.