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WHO Warns of Fake Mental Health Tablets

The World Health Organisation WHO has reported 700 adverse events among patients taking falsified diazepam tablets used for treating mental and emotional conditions.
07 Jul 2015 09:09
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported 700 adverse effects among patients taking falsified diazepam tablets used for treating mental and emotional conditions.

Diazepam is used for the treatment of agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal. It is also used for relief of muscle spasms in some neurological diseases, and for sedation during surgery.

Now World Health Organization says people injured by the drug - who include some 400 people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - have developed an acute muscular reaction affecting the face, neck and tongue that can require hospitalization.

Around 40 people are being hospitalized per week in DRC, and such is the prevalence of the falsified medicine.

Laboratory analyses from falsified drugs collected from Democratic Republic of Congo found that the they did not contain diazepam but has between 10mg to 20mg of schizophrenia drug haloperidol per tablet. Haloperidol poses a serious risk, particularly to young people.

The falsified tablets are light yellow in colour and are scored across the centre of the tablet on one side and bear the letters AGOG on the other side.

Agog Pharma Ltd is a pharmaceutical manufacturer based in India, according to the WHO, and sells generic drug products in Ghana and Zambia.

The drug maker has confirmed that it does manufacture haloperidol tablets similar to the falsified product, but notes these are supplied in blisters of 10 tablets and boxes of 10 blisters under the Agohal brand name. It does not however manufacture diazepam.

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