PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry has issued a warning against the use of the unregistered Chinese traditional medicine Dong Mai Tan and Seven Leave Ginseng following complaints of liver failure and swollen face or “moon face”.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said tests found that both products contained dexamethasone, a potent type of corticosteroids (steroid medication) controlled under the Poisons Act 1952.
The product samples were collected following reports of adverse reactions received by the National Centre for Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring.
“Anyone with the products are advised to immediately stop selling, distributing or using them,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Possession of the products for sale contravened the Sale of Drug Act 1952 and the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984, he said.
Anyone who commits the offence could be fined not more than RM25,000 or jailed not more than three years or both for first offence, and fined not more than RM50,000 or jailed not more than five years or both for subsequent offences while companies were liable up to double the fines.
He said the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau had received four reports on adverse reaction complaints against Dong Mai Tan products and eight against the Seven Leave Ginseng.
Among the reactions reported were liver failure and the Cushing syndrome as seen in “moon face” and increase in weight, with weight gain concentrating at the abdomen, said Dr Noor Hisham.
Besides the reactions, the long-term use of dexamethasone without a doctor’s monitoring could lead to serious consequences such as muscle weakness, bone fragility, rise in blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, cataracts and increase in infections, he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said dexamethasone was used for treating serious swellings and inflammation and could only be prescribed by a doctor and not allowed to be used as traditional medicine.
He said both products were not registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) and the registration numbers printed on Dong Mai Tan (MAL20013016T) and Seven Leave Ginseng (MAL19984210T) products were false.
Those with information on unregistered products should inform the Pharmacy Services Division through www.pharmacy.gov.my or any of the pharmacy enforcement branches or call 03-7841 3200.
Consumers can also check the status of product through www.bpfk.gov.my or call the bureau at 03-7883 5400.