Three patients with lead poisoning following use
of a Chinese herbal pill
TW Auyeung, KKF Chang, CH To, A Mak, ML Szeto
Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tsing
Chung Koon Road, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
We report on three patients with lead poisoning
following use of the Chinese herbal pill Bao ning dan, prepared
by the same traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. The patients
had varying degrees of exposure to Bao ning dan and different clinical
manifestations. Blood lead concentrations did not correlate with
clinical severity. Two patients received chelating therapy and blood
lead concentrations subsequently rapidly decreased. One patient
was managed conservatively and end-organ complications resolved
gradually. With increasing use of traditional Chinese medicines,
related adverse reactions are expected to become increasingly common.
Practitioners of western medicine should remain alert to this possibility.
A comprehensive drug review, including the use of herbal medicines,
should form a routine part of medical history taking.
Hong Kong Med J 2002;8:60-2
Keywords: Drugs, Chinese herbal; Lead poisoning;
Medicine, Chinese traditional