Khun-Phra is a health product promoted to treat arthritis and joint pain. Health Canada is advising consumers not to use the product due to concerns about possible side-effects.
The Hong Kong Department of Health advised consumers not to use Khun-Phra because it contains the undeclared drugs dexamethasone, prednisolone, phenylbutazone, diazepam, cyproheptadine and mebhydrolin.
Dexamethasone, prednisolone and phenylbutazone are prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Diazepam is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. These drugs should only be taken under the supervision of a health care professional.
Cyproheptadine is a licensed, over-the-counter antihistamine. It is also used to promote weight gain but should only be taken on the advice of a physician for this use. Cyproheptadine should not be taken for prolonged periods of time without consulting with a physician.
Mebhydrolin is an antihistamine that is not licensed in Canada.
Use of dexamethasone and prednisolone may result in several side-effects including irregular heart beat, increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol, increased blood sugar, menstrual irregularities, suppression of growth in children, fluid and electrolyte disturbances, peptic ulcer, blood disorders, allergic skin reaction, muscle damage, seizures and hallucinations.
Side-effects of diazepam can include dizziness, drowsiness, jaundice, depression, memory loss and seizures.
Side-effects of phenylbutazone can include parotid gland enlargement, anemia and liver damage.
Side-effects of cyproheptadine and mebhydrolin can include rash and hives.