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Patients should find blood pressure medication before ditching recalled drug

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Patients should find blood pressure medication before ditching recalled drug | The Thaiger
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About 20,000 people with blood-pressure problems in Thailand rely on the five drugs that the FDA intends to recall over the next two weeks.

On the recall list are Valatan 80 drug registration No 1A/54 (NG); Valatan 160 drug registration No 1A 10/54; Valsarin 80 drug registration No 1A 4/60; Valsarin 160 drug registration No 1A 5/60; and Valsarin 320 drug registration No 1A 6/60.

The first two drugs are manufactured by Silom Medical while the other three are made by Unison Laboratories. An impurity has been introduced during the production of key ingredient valsartan by a supplier – China-based Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals.

Whilst five medicines containing ‘valsartan’ are being recalled over their potential links to cancer, experts warn that abandoning them without alternative medication is even more dangerous.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has emphasised that patients must get alternative medicine before abandoning the drugs that are being recalled.

“Without equivalent medication for blood-pressure issues, the decision to stop taking these drugs is more dangerous than taking it,” FDA secretary-general Dr Wanchai Sattayawuthi-pong warned yesterday.

“This means you should urgently contact your doctor, hospital or pharmacy over the recalls and immediately get alternative medication.”

Thailand is the first country in Asia to order the recall, which has been underway in 21 other nations across the globe.

“Scientific tests have detected cancer risks in guinea pigs, not yet in humans. But for safety reasons, recalls have started in many countries,” Wanchai said.

Patients should find blood pressure medication before ditching recalled drug | News by The Thaiger

Dr Wanchai Sattayawuthi-pong

FDA deputy secretary-general Dr Surachoke Tangwiwat said doctors had prescribed 30 million pills to treat blood-control problems in Thailand last year. Of them, about six million were produced by Silom Medical and Unison Laboratories.

“These pills were prescribed to about 20,000 patients. We are going to contact them via their hospitals,” Surachoke said. He added that alerts were also issued via provincial public health offices, medical centres and pharmacists’ networks.

Atthaporn Limpanyalerd, assistant secretary-general of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), said about five million people in Thailand had blood-pressure issues.

“Of them, about 10 per cent have received treatments via the universal healthcare scheme,” he said.

The scheme is Thailand’s largest healthcare programme, covering about 48 million Thais. “We are in the process of checking with the scheme’s hospitals to determine how many patients will be affected by the ongoing recalls,” Atthaporn said.

Patients should find blood pressure medication before ditching recalled drug | News by The Thaiger

Khon Kaen-based Chum Phae Hospital’s director Dr Kriangsak Vacharanukoonkiet said that before the recall order came out, his hospital had prescribed valsartan-containing medicine to 35 or 36 patients for high blood-pressure treatment. “But after the FDA ordered the recall, we immediately stopped prescribing it and implemented the recall,” he said.

Kriangsak said his hospital was working with networked tambon-level hospitals and hospital staff to collect the problematic valsartan from patients’ houses.

He said his hospital was considering several options to replace the problematic medicine.

“We may use valsartan-containing medicine from another manufacturer, one that doesn’t have the [carcinogenic] ingredient or we can order an alternative medicine,” he said.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Dengue fever antibodies might contribute to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count

Caitlin Ashworth

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Dengue fever antibodies might contribute to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr

Antibodies from dengue fever might raise immunity against Covid-19, according to study done in Brazil. It suggests a correlation between the mosquito transmitted illness and the coronavirus, citing lower Covid-19 cases in areas with past dengue outbreaks. Thai doctor Manoon Leechawengwongs says this might be why Thailand has significantly less Covid-19 cases than other countries around the world.

Thailand has more than 100,000 dengue patients every year, he says, adding that many locals take the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis to prevent dengue. There have been 3,545 Covid-19 cases in Thailand with 59 deaths and 3,369 recoveries.

Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis led the study and recently spoke to Reuters reporters about his findings. He says the study first focused on the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil and they came across the correlation between dengue and the coronavirus by accident. The study says areas in Brazil with high numbers of dengue infections had a low number Covid-19 cases while areas with low numbers of dengue cases had a high number of Covid-19 cases.

“This striking finding raises the intriguing possibility of an immunological cross-reactivity between dengue’s Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2 … If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection (against the coronavirus).”

Miguel adds past studies found that those with dengue antibodies can falsely test positive for Covid-19.

“This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between two viruses that nobody could have expected, because the two viruses are from completely different families.”

The study was posted on MedRxiv, but has not yet been peer reviewed. Manoon warns that Thai people should still abide by coronavirus prevention measures to prevent a possible second wave.

Click HERE to read the study on how dengue fever may have influenced the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil.

SOURCES: Reuters | Nation Thailand|Worldometer

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Bangkok

Bangkok heist nets gold ornaments valued at 5.6 million baht

Caitlin Ashworth

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Bangkok heist nets gold ornaments valued at 5.6 million baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

Police are searching for a man who allegedly robbed a Bangkok gold shop at gunpoint, stealing gold ornaments valued around 5.6 million baht. The man allegedly pointed a gun at employees, forcing them to hand over 3 trays of gold ornaments.

The Yaowarat Krungthep shop is located at the entrance of Tesco Lotus in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district. Since the shop is near the building’s entrance, it was easy for the alleged robber to escape and drive off on a motorcycle, according to Chokechai police.

The selling price for the gold ornaments are 28,350 per piece, according to the Gold Traders Association. Altogether, it’s estimated the alleged robber ran off with about 5.6 million baht worth of gold.

Police are reviewing the shop’s surveillance camera footage as well as video from outside the Tesco Lotus and nearby roads. Deputy police chief Suchart Theerasawat says they have a lead on the suspected robber, but are fact checking evidence before making an arrest.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Weather

More rain fronts on the way around Thailand today and tomorrow

The Thaiger

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More rain fronts on the way around Thailand today and tomorrow | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department is forecasting more isolated heavy rain over many parts of the country over the next few days.

“The monsoonal trough lies across the North, the Central, and the lower Northeast while the moderate southwest monsoon prevails over the Andaman Sea, Thailand and the Gulf. People in the risky areas should beware of severe conditions that may cause flash floods and water runoffs.”

Last night there were heavy rains and flooding in parts of the inner city. Cars were stuck in knee-deep water and footpaths were inundated in several inner city suburbs, including Phra Khanong. Phuket also had a rough night of high winds and rain. For most of Thailand, the most rainfall is accumulated in September and October making them the wettest months. However, the east coast of Southern Thailand gets the heaviest rainfall in November. Learn more about Thailand’s monsoonal weather HERE.

Bangkok and surrounding areas

Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 60% of the areas and isolated heavy rain; temperature lows of 24-26°C, highs of 34-35°C.

North

Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 60% of the areas and isolated heavy rain; temperature lows of 24-26 degrees Celsius and highs of 32-35°C.

Northeast

Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 60% of the areas and isolated heavy rain; temperature lows of 24-25°C and highs of 33-34°C.

Central

Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 70% of the areas and isolated heavy rain; temperature lows of 24-26°C, highs of 34-35°C.

East

Cloudy with thundershowers in 80% of the areas and isolated heavy to very heavy rain; temperature lows of 23-26°C, highs of 29-33°C; waves a metre high and 1-2 metres during thundershowers.

South (east coast)

Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 60% of the areas and isolated heavy rain; temperature lows of 24-25°C, highs of 32-33°C; waves 1-2 metres high and over 2 metres during thundershowers.

South (west coast)

Mostly cloudy with thundershowers in 70% of the areas and isolated heavy rain; temperature lows of 23-25°C, highs of 30-33°C; waves 1-2 metres high and over 2 metres during thundershowers.

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