Liver Failure Cases in Hawaii Possibly Linked to Dietary SupplementsSep 30, 2013
The state of Hawaii is investigating a number of cases of liver failure in young and healthy adults, which officials think is possibly linked to dietary supplements.
The state is sending a medical alert to the public after learning of a cluster of liver failure cases, some requiring liver transplants, according to a report on KHON 2 news. Seven patients are in Hawaiian hospitals with liver failure; one has had a transplant, two others are on the transplant list, and another may be added to the list, according to Santanvalley.com. Supplements are popular with body builders and dieters, promising help with shedding fat and building muscle.
Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist, said the patients “have nothing in common among them except for the fact that they all took a dietary supplement, a nutritional supplement for the purpose of weight loss or muscle-building.” The state says the cases seem to be associated with one particular supplement brand, but health officials report they are now hearing of other brands. The officials are not naming the brand. They say they don’t know if the problem is one particular brand, an ingredient, or possibly a tainted batch. The cases may involve a federally regulated supplement that’s sold across the country. Santanvalley.com reports that the suspected ingredient is contained in the supplement OxyELITEPro.
Dr. Park is concerned that these cases may be just the beginning because many people take OxyELITEPro and similar products, according to KHON 2 news. She recommends that anyone who feels sick after taking a supplement should contact a doctor.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has limited authority over supplements, which are generally treated as foods, though the agency can intervene when a supplement contains hidden drugs or ingredients deemed too dangerous for human consumption. Risky dietary supplements are an important reason why Congress enacted the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938.