In a follow-up on the surge of acute kidney injury (AKI) of unknown etiology cases in young children, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the identification of substandard cough medicines made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited in Haryana, India that may be linked to the AKIs.
The products in the WHO alert include Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.
Laboratory analysis of samples of each of the four products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants. To date, these four products have been identified in The Gambia, but may have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions.
WHO says diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal.
Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.
The Gambia Ministry of Health said in a press release yesterday: Most of the reported cases are from Kanifing Municipality, West Coast Region, Central River Region and Upper River Region.
After observing some clinical events, it gave rise to the suspicion that contaminated paracetamol syrups, promethazine syrups and cough syrups might be potential contributors to Acute Kidney Injury, or might have worsened the initial diarrhea affecting the children.
This has prompted a medicines recall exercise in three regions and then rollout nationwide.