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Singapore warns against use of two Malaysian health products

SINGAPORE: The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned the public to avoid buying and consuming two health products from Malaysia that caused two elderly women to develop adverse reactions.
In a press release on Thursday (Nov 2), HSA said the two products - Wan Ling Ren Sem Chin Kuo Pill and Chong Cao Dan - were tested to contain undeclared western medicinal ingredients.
Both were promoted as traditional Chinese medicine claiming to contain herbal ingredients to help with conditions such as pain, numbness of the limbs and blood circulation.
However, tests conducted by HSA found that both products contained dexamethasone, a potent steroid, while Chong Cao Dan also had frusemide (a diuretic which helps to remove excess fluid from the body) and chlorpheniramine (an anti-allergy medicine).
She suffered from adrenal insufficiency, a serious condition where the body does not produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones. This results in generalised weakness, muscle and joint pain, low blood pressure, fits or shock.
Another woman in her 60s, who took Chong Cao Dan weekly for the past two to three years for blood circulation and to relieve muscle aches and pains experienced two episodes of fainting this year.
She aches and pains would return if she did not take the product and she developed Cushing's syndrome, with symptoms such as the characteristic round "moon" face and thinning of the skin.
Her high blood pressure also worsened due to prolonged consumption of steroids, and she is currently under outpatient care to manage these conditions.
Said HSA: "The undeclared potent western medicinal ingredients in the products can pose serious health risks to consumers, especially when taken over a prolonged period without medical supervision."
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