Teething mixture kills 25 Nigerian babies

November 29th, 2008 - 2:43 am ICT by IANS  

Abuja, Nov 29 (DPA) The Nigerian government has ordered an investigation after a locally made mixture used to suppress discomfort in babies cutting teeth killed 25 infants.The children were administered the mixture, My Pikin, at government-owned teaching hospitals across the country during November.

Health Minister Hassan Lawal has also advised parents and hospitals against the use of the drug until the results of investigations into the medicine were revealed.

Dora Akunyili, Director-General of the state-run food and drugs regulatory agency, the National Food and Drugs Administration and Control, said that the agency had shut the premises of the manufacturer of the mixture, Barewa Pharmaceuticals in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

The agency had also started mopping up all My Pikin mixtures at retail outlets, she said.

Fifteen of the children died at one of Nigeria’s oldest medicine training institutes, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

Akunyili said that eight of the children died at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, another old medicine teaching hospital in the north, while two died at Nigeria’s foremost institute for medical studies, the University College Hospital, Ibadan, in the southwest.

“Seven pediatric patients within the ages of one to three years were referred to the UCH from hospitals in Lagos,” she said. “The seven toddlers had renal failure linked to administration of My Pikin and two of the seven died upon admission to hospital.”

Children who took the drug exhibited fever, diarrheoa, vomiting and inability to pass urine.

Akunyili said that laboratory analysis of the drug revealed that a chemical, diethylene glycol, was the suspected cause of the deaths.

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