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   May 07

Warning about Ayurvedic herbal medicine for treatment of asthmatic symptoms containing undeclared pharmaceuticals

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7 May 2014

MHRA is advising consumers not to use Ayurvedic herbal medicine Shwasa Sanjeevani as it has been found to contain dexamethasone, a prescription only medicine which has not been declared on the packaging. Prescription only drugs should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Side effects associated with dexamethasone include irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, stomach ulcer, blood disorders, skin, muscle and bone damage, and nervous system disorders. Consult with your healthcare professional before you stop using it, as sudden discontinuation of dexamethasone may cause symptoms of withdrawal.

Shwasa Sanjeevani is a dark liquid in a labeled brown bottle. Indications include chronic bronchitis, allergy, wheezing asthma, coughs and colds. The liquid is manufactured by Valiyeri Vaidyasala, Kerala.

Shwasa Sanjeevani

A female patient visited her GP with concerns about weight gain and mild excess facial and body hair growth. The GP suspected Cushing’s syndrome or Polycystic ovary syndrome and requested a blood test. The test showed very low levels of cortisol. The patient was not on any medication other than salbutamol for mild asthma.

On further questioning however, she admitted to using an Indian herbal remedy Shwasa Sanjeevani for relief of asthmatic symptoms. The GP suspected that the herbal remedy may have contained a steroid-like substance, suppressing natural cortisol production. Further supporting this theory, on stopping the remedy the patient’s cortisol levels returned to normal.

Samples of Shwasa Sanjeevani were tested and found to contain dexamethasone, which is a prescription only medicine.

Shwasa Sanjeevani is not authorised for sale in the UK.

Source: MHRA

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