Hong Kong Med J 2008;14:50-4 | Number 1, February 2008
Hazards posed by a banned drug—phenformin is still hanging around
CK Ching, CK Lai, WT Poon, Ernest NP Wong, WW Yan, Albert YW Chan, Tony WL Mak
Hospital Authority Toxicology Reference Laboratory, Princess Margaret Hospital, Laichikok, Hong Kong
The Hospital Authority Toxicology Reference Laboratory confirmed six cases of phenformin use, with or without complications, from July 2005 to November 2006. Two of the patients presented with potentially fatal phenformin-induced lactic acidosis. Phenformin was found (or suspected to be) adulterating Chinese proprietary medicine in five of the six cases. We report these six cases to highlight the underrecognised hazards posed by phenformin, a banned drug in Hong Kong.
Key words: Acidosis, lactic; Drug and narcotic control; Drugs, Chinese herbal; Phenformin
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