OTTAWA, Aug. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Health Canada is advising consumers about
a possible link between health products containing the herbal medicine black
cohosh and liver damage.
Black cohosh, also known as Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa, is a
herbal remedy that is often used to relieve menopausal and premenstrual
symptoms. Common names for black cohosh include black snakeroot, black bugbane
and rheumatism weed. Black cohosh is available either as a single ingredient
product or in products that contain other herbs.
There have been a number of international case reports of liver damage
suspected to be associated with the use of black cohosh, including three case
reports in Canada and one published case of death in the United States. Most
of these cases involved other medical problems and the use of other
medications that may have contributed to the liver damage. The quality of the
black cohosh products involved in these cases is not known.
While case reports of liver damage are rare and the link between black
cohosh and liver toxicity is unclear, Health Canada is taking a precautionary
approach and is currently reviewing the safety and effectiveness of black
cohosh. To safeguard the health of Canadians in the interim, Health Canada is
advising consumers and health care practitioners of the following:
- Consumers should exercise caution in the use of products containing
black cohosh, and consult a health care practitioner if they have
concerns about its use.
- Consumers should discontinue the use of products containing black
cohosh and consult a physician if they have unusual fatigue, weakness,
loss of appetite, or if they develop symptoms suggestive of liver
injury such as yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine
or abdominal pain.
Canadian health care practitioners and consumers will be advised if
further precautionary measures are necessary.
To report a suspected adverse reaction, please contact the Canadian
Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program (CADRMP) of Health Canada by one of
the following methods: