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Health Canada advises heart patients not to use products containing L-arginine

May 16, 2006 | Health Canada

Health Canada is advising patients who have previously had a heart attack not to use L-arginine supplements because of a recent study showing an increased potential risk of death when used after a heart attack.

L-arginine is an amino acid which is commonly used to sustain and promote healthy heart function. However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2006 suggests that L-arginine may not help improve heart and circulatory function following a first heart attack and may be associated with an increased risk of death when used after a heart attack.

All L-arginine products must carry a warning on their label that reflects the recent scientific information. Health Canada has issued a stop-sale and recall on L-arginine-containing products that do not have the appropriate labelling. As well, products containing L-arginine must have market authorization before they can be sold in Canada.

For patients with heart disease who have not had a previous heart attack, taking L-arginine is unlikely to present a risk and may provide benefits since L-arginine may help the body repair damage to blood vessels in the heart.

Consumers who have used products containing L-arginine after a heart attack and have concerns about their health should contact their physician or health care practitioner.

To report a suspected adverse reaction to L-arginine or any other product, please contact the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program (CADRMP) of Health Canada by one of the following methods:

Telephone: 866-234-2345
Facsimile: 866-678-6789

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