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MHRA slams 'dangerous' advert for herbal remedy Vedagrin

Regulation The MHRA has warned diabetes patients against claims that unlicensed herbal supplement Vedagrin can eliminate the need for prescribed medicine.

The MHRA has warned diabetes patients not to believe ads for Vedagrin that claim the unlicensed herbal supplement could eliminate the need for prescribed medicine.

The medicines watchdog called for Vedagrin to be removed from sale last week (July 3), after it discovered an ad claiming the supplement could enable diabetics to "say goodbye to medication forever".

The MHRA said it did not know who was manufacturing Vedagrin, but had been contacted by a member of the public who had seen the ad in a local newspaper.  

An advertisement for Vedagrin ran with the claim that diabetics could "say goodbye to medication forever"

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C+D contacted the number on the ad and spoke to a man who said he had sold Vedagrin, but that he did not represent the company behind the supplement and had no involvement in the advert. He stressed that he would never make claims that the product could replace medication.

The medicines watchdog said the claims could have "dangerous consequences" and broke advertising regulations for medicines. The ad for Vedagrin, also known as Vedanate, claims it has a 100 per cent success rate, yielding "drastic results" from the first week of use.

A patient information leaflet about the herbal supplement admits results "vary considerably" among type 1 diabetics taking the product, who are advised to take the remedy only in full consultation with their doctor.

It also advises type 2 diabetics to monitor their blood sugar levels closely while taking the tablets and recommends they consult their pharmacist or doctor if they remain at a steady lower level for two weeks.

Huddersfield University senior lecturer in pharmacy practice Mahendra Patel said he would be concerned if patients stopped taking diabetes medication without talking to health professionals.

Dr Patel, who chairs the South Asian Health Foundation, which aims to educate people at high risk of diabetes about their health, said patients should also tell their pharmacist or GP if they were taking alternative products.

Diabetes UK clinical adviser Natasha Marsland said some diabetes patients were tempted to "clutch at anything" because there was no cure for the condition.

Patients who stopped their medication could experience serious consequences, including the potentially fatal condition diabetic ketoacidosis, she said. Type 2 patients can suffer a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state, while longer-term problems with the eyes, nerves, kidneys and the cardiovascular system can also develop.

The MHRA reiterated that people should only buy herbal medicines with a product licence or THR (traditional herbal registration) number, which mean the products have been assessed against quality standards.

What advice would you give to diabetic patients asking about alternative remedies?

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