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Health News of Monday, 17 February 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Cough Treatment With Dextromethorphan Banned!

The Public Health Ministry says some of the drugs contain substances that cause side effects.

Seven Dextromethorphan cough orals have been banned from being used in the country. The information is contained in a press release signed by the Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda, last week, February 3, 2014 as he called on health personnel to immediately withdraw the medicines from the market because they cause undesirable side effects that can even kill those using it.

According to the release, the following medications: Diacol syrup, Fluditec 0.1% syrup, Pamagin C pellicule tablet, Bronchoca LM 0.1% syrup for children and O.2 % for adult, Cinfatos syrup and Tussidane solution without sugar, all contain the Dextromethorphan product which is one of the active ingredients harmful to its users. With strict respect, Minister André Mama Fouda calls on all pharmacists and drug vendors to remove the drugs from the market with immediate effect.

The Director of Pharmacy at the Department of Pharmacy, Drugs and Laboratories at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Aristide Otto Ateba Etoundi, said the Minister of Public Health, last year November 23 learnt that, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had signalled the undesirable effects of Dextromethorphan drugs in Pakistan and Paraguay. It was revealed that in Pakistan, some 41 children were hospitalised after consuming some pharmaceutical products containing Dextromethorphan. In 2012, some 50 patients still in Pakistan reportedly died after using products containing Dextromethorphan. Besides death, it is said that in Pakistan and Paraguay, this product has caused serious side effects.

It was revealed that the main ingredient in the medicines that was killing patients in Pakistan and Paraguay was Dextromethorphan, a material imported from Konduskar Laboratories Privates Limited, based in Kolhapur, India. The concerned agencies in Pakistan had discovered that both cough syrups and Dextromethorphan have been stained with Levomethorphan - a foreign matter that is an optical isomer of dextromethorphan at different levels.

While WHO calls for strict measures in the use of these products, the Director of Pharmacy, Dr Aristide Otto Ateba Etoundi, indicates that the Konduskar Laboratories does not exist in the data of laboratories that have the competence to provide drugs containing Dextromethorphan in Cameroon. But the director notes that it is better to withdraw all the drugs that contain this molecule from Cameroon market.

Some pharmacists are not informed about the ban while others say they learned from the internet the dangers of such drugs and had gone ahead to withdraw them from their counters. Whatever the case, the ministry needs to take measures to ensure that these drugs are removed from Cameroon's drug market.