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FDA ISSUES WARNING AGAINST CONSUMING CHAPARRAL

 WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Food and Drug Administration today warned the public against consuming chaparral -- a widely distributed herbal product -- because it is associated with acute toxic hepatitis. Chaparral has recently been linked to severe liver problems in at least four people in this country, one of whom is in grave condition.
 "The public should not purchase or consume chaparral," said FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler, M.D. "People with underlying health problems may be particularly at risk if they consume this product."
 The herbal product "chaparral" is derived from the ground leaves of the Larrea tridentata, commonly called creosote bush, which grows in the deserts of the American Southwest. The herb is used in teas, capsules and tablet preparations that purport to "cleanse" the blood stream, delay the aging process and treat various skin conditions.
 In late August and early September 1992, FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were informed of two cases in which individuals consuming chaparral consistently over the course of several weeks suffered severe jaundice and abdominal pain. These cases and the potential link between acute, non-viral hepatitis and chaparral were discussed in an article published in the Oct. 30, 1992, issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
 In these two cases, and a third that was reported to FDA and CDC on Nov. 13, the patients apparently recovered after undergoing medical treatment and discontinuing their consumption of chaparral.
 However, in a fourth case reported Dec. 4, a person who had taken unknown quantities of chaparral became gravely ill with liver and kidney failure. Although the patient had pre-existing liver damage, medical experts have ruled it out as the cause of this current illness.
 FDA, based on an evaluation of these cases, which involved more than one chaparral product, has determined that the ingestion of chaparral poses a potential health risk to the public. In particular, individuals with underlying liver damage due to acute or chronic disease could face severe, irreversible liver damage, and even death from consuming chaparral.
 FDA is continuing its investigation to obtain more information about the product and the extent and patterns of use. The agency will take appropriate action when more information is available.
 Physicians who believe that their patients may be suffering adverse reactions to chaparral consumption are urged to notify FDA by contacting Dr. Lori A. Love at 202-205-4198 or 202-205-4561, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday. At other times, or if Love is unavailable, physicians may call FDA's 24-hour Emergency Operations Line at 301-443-1240.
 FDA is one of the eight agencies of the Public Health Service within HHS.
 -0- 12/10/92
 /NOTE: TV Broadcasters please use open caption for the hearing impaired./
 /CONTACT: Brad Stone of the Food and Drug Administration, 202-205-4144 or, after hours, 703-892-0468/


CO: Food and Drug Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: MTC SU:

IH -- DC017 -- 5805 12/10/92 12:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 13, 1992
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