The US government has asked doctors and patients to be careful and not use fake supplement L-citrulline.
The US Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday that in certain lots the drug was totally missing from the supplement. Sold by Medisca Inc, supplement L-citrulline is used to treat genetic disorders primarily found in children. The company has already recalled eight such fake lots.
L-citrulline contains amino acid which treats urea cycle disorders. It also keeps away the ammonia from blood. In this disorder, L-citrulline level goes down when the body is not able to get one of the six enzymes. Thus, ammonia level increases, which leads to brain damage and even death.
On investigation, the company did not find L-citrulline in certain lots and said "this represents a potential health hazard. These lots should not be used for any purpose".
"Health care professionals should discontinue dispensing from these lots, contact patients and return all unused product to Medisca Inc. Patients and caregivers should stop using any product with these lot numbers," the FDA said.
Every year in the US, around 2,500 children suffer from urea cycles disorders. Officials from Medisca Inc said they had contacted the manufacturer of the supplement but were not able to pinpoint at the substance which may have been used in place of L-citrulline.
In spite of taking the medicine, at least half a dozen children in the country complained of problems due to low supplement level, said Cynthia Le Mons, executive director of the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation in Pasadena, Calif.