Herbal Medicine could lead to life-threatening Kernicterus

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JMW respond to claims that a new herbal cough & cold medicine sold by a leading high street retailer could lead to Kernicterus, often found in new born babies suffering from jaundice.

A children’s herbal cough and cold medicine sold by Holland and Barrett has been withdrawn after regulators found it was not only unlicensed but could also lead to serious health defects including Kernicterus.

The plant extract known as Echinacea & Golden Root was also found to have high doses of berberine which is reported to cause stomach upset, vomiting, nervousness, depression, heart damage and low blood pressure.

A report (http://www.mhra.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Pressreleases/CON180627) from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) suggests that in some cases Berberine can cause or worsen jaundice in newborns and could lead to the life-threatening form of brain damage kernicterus.

Richard Woodfield MHRA Head of Herbal Policy stated, “It’s reassuring that this potentially dangerous herbal medicine has been withdrawn before any recorded signs of severe brain damage. Parents need to remember that just because a product is labelled as natural does not mean it is safe.”

Clinical negligence experts JMW solicitors have been working with several families from across the UK who developed kernicterus as a result of newborn jaundice. These families shared their stories to help raise awareness of the need for good care on newborn jaundice.

Speaking on behalf of JMW, Eddie Jones, the head of Clinical Negligence stated, “Jaundice and brain injury can have a severe impact on the entire family, while the children themselves can face many issues when growing up, such as learning and development difficulties.

“The children we are representing have been left severely disabled because the appropriate action was not taken to address their jaundice. Jaundice is a common condition in new-born babies, and completely treatable, but in rare cases, when it occurs in the first 24 hours of life can be dangerous and lead to brain damage. Therefore it is vital that healthcare staff at every level are alert to the potential risks of newborn jaundice.

“Kernicterus has had a catastrophic impact on the lives of the families we are representing. They have had to come to terms with their child’s severe disabilities, and the fact that they were completely preventable.”

JMW specialises in clinical and medical negligence cases and offers support for families dealing with Kernicterus brain damage. For more help and advice call 0800 054 6512 or visit http://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-you/clinical-negligence/success-stories/focus-kernicterus/.

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