A HO CHI MINH CITY man has died from a blood infection after taking a banned traditional medicine manufactured in Cambodia, according to Vietnamese state media.
The drug, labeled only as a “traditional medicine to save lives”, contains a potent mix of diazepam, dexamethasone and cyproheptadine, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
Veng Thai, Phnom Penh’s Municipal Health Department director, said these chemicals are available in Cambodia only by prescription.
Diazepam is the sedative in the drug Valium, while dexamethasone is a steroid that acts as an immunosuppressant and cyproheptadine is an antihistamine.
But the drug can cause severe side effects, including depression and internal bleeding. But with 10 sachets costing $0.40, the drug is popular in Vietnam, despite last year’s ban following several hospitalizations and deaths, the report said.
The drug is said to be a traditional remedy used in Cambodia to treat an array of illnesses, including headaches, stomachaches, dizziness and insomnia.
But ministry officials said they were unaware of the drug, and it could not be located in any Phnom Penh pharmacies.