HEALTH Canada has issued a warning about Ayurvedic herbal medicine Shwasa Sanjeevani that is a dark liquid in a labeled brown bottle. This product is promoted for chronic bronchitis, allergy, wheezing asthma, cough and colds.
Health Canada said that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom) warned consumers not to use the product Shwasa Sanjeevani after it was found to contain dexamethasone.
Dexamethasone is a steroidal prescription drug used to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and allergic reactions. It should only 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 prior to stopping use, as sudden discontinuation of dexamethasone may cause symptoms of withdrawal.
THE MHRA website reports: “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.”
HEALTH Canada said this product is not authorized for sale in Canada and has not been found in the Canadian marketplace, but it is it may have been brought into the country by travellers or purchased over the Internet.
Drugs and natural health products that are authorized for sale in Canada will have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label. These numbers indicate that the products have been assessed by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness and quality.
Health Canada advises Canadians to contact the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate at 1-800-267-9675 if they find this product in the Canadian marketplace.
Canadians who have this product are advised not to use them, and should consult with a healthcare professional if they have concerns about their health related to the use of these products.
To report a side effect to a health product to Health Canada: Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345
Visit Health Canada’s Web page on Adverse Reaction Reporting for information on how to report online, by mail or by fax.