This warning is important for everyone especially those infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Caution should be used with anything people are taking including prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications, herbs, supplements and vitamins. The key to staying healthy is to always work with your medical provider about what is safe to take and what should be avoided.
Another note of caution: People who are taking HIV or HCV protease inhibitors should not take St. johns wart – it can effect how well these drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream and ultimately affect successful treatment outcome.
Please visit the following links for more information on supplements and HCV:
Hepatitis C and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
CAM Information & Finding a Practitioner
HCV & CAM: Dietary Supplements to Avoid
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Resources
Dietary Substances and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Herbal Dietary Supplements Glossary
Herbs and Dietary Supplements: Making Safer and Wiser Choices
Herbs and Hepatitis C
for Hepatitis C
Recently, a number of previously healthy individuals developed
acute hepatitis and sudden liver failure of unknown cause after using a
dietary supplement for weight loss or muscle building. CDC recommends
increased vigilance by public health agencies, emergency departments,
and healthcare providers for patients who develop acute hepatitis or
liver failure following use of a weight loss or muscle building
nutritional supplement. CDC requests that state health departments
report such occurrences to the CDC. CDC also recommends that, as part of
a comprehensive evaluation, clinicians evaluating patients with acute
hepatitis should ask about consumption of dietary supplements.
On September 9, 2013, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) was
notified of seven patients with severe acute hepatitis and sudden liver
failure of unknown cause. The patients were previously healthy and
sought medical care from May through September 2013. Clinicians reported
that the seven patients had all used OxyELITE Pro, a dietary supplement
marketed for weight loss and muscle gain, prior to illness onset.
The investigation is ongoing and the data presented are preliminary.
Thus far, clinicians have reported 45 patients to the Hawaii DOH in
response to a public health alert. Of those, 29 patients, including the
original seven, were confirmed to have acute hepatitis after using a
nutritional supplement for weight loss or muscle building. The median
age of the 29 patients is 33 years; 14 (48%) are male. The date of the
first reported laboratory test was used as a proxy for illness onset and
ranged from May 10 through October 3, 2013. The most commonly reported
symptoms included loss of appetite, light-colored stools, dark urine,
and jaundice. Median laboratory values reported at the peak of illness
were the following:
- aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 1,128 IU/L;
- alanine transaminase (ALT) 1,793 IU/L;
- alkaline phosphatase 150 IU/L; and
- total bilirubin 12.6 mg/dL.
Ten patients had liver biopsy data available at the time of this
report. Seven had histology consistent with hepatitis from drug/toxic
injury, with findings including hepatocellular necrosis and cholestasis.
Three patients had liver biopsy findings of acute hepatitis associated
with other etiologies such as autoimmune hepatitis. Eleven (38%)
patients were hospitalized, with a median duration of seven days. One
patient died, and two patients received liver transplants. Two remain
hospitalized, and all other hospitalized patients have been discharged.
Of the 29 identified patients, 24 (83%) reported using OxyELITE Pro
during the 60 days prior to illness onset. There was no other dietary
supplement or medication use reported in common by more than two
National case finding efforts have identified several individuals
from states outside Hawaii with reported OxyELITE Pro or other weight
loss or muscle building dietary supplement use prior to the development
of acute hepatitis of unknown cause. CDC, in collaboration with state
health departments, is collecting additional clinical and epidemiologic
information from these individuals to determine if this outbreak is
national in scope.
An individual with acute-onset hepatitis of unknown etiology that
developed symptoms on or after April 1, 2013 following use of a
non-prescription weight loss or muscle building dietary supplement
during the 60 days prior to illness onset.
With acute-onset hepatitis of unknown etiology defined as having BOTH:
– ALT > 4 times the upper limit of normal
– Total bilirubin > 2 times the upper limit of normal
-negative workup for infectious or other explicative etiologies for
hepatitis. Workup for other potential etiologies should include:
- – Hepatic imaging (i.e., ultrasound/doppler, CT scan, MRI) not consistent with alternative, explicative etiologies
- – Negative viral hepatitis panel
- – No pre-existing diagnosis of chronic liver disease (e.g.,
autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing
cholangitis, Wilson’s disease, hemochromatosis)
- – No recent hypotensive shock or septic episodes – No history of alcoholism documented in medical records
- Clinicians evaluating patients with acute hepatitis should ask about
consumption of dietary supplements as part of a comprehensive
- Clinicians should report patients meeting the case definition to the
local or state health department, as well as the US Food and Drug
Administration’s MedWatch program online at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/ or by phone at 1-888-INFO-FDA.
- People who use dietary supplements for weight loss or muscle gain
should do so with caution and under a medical provider’s close
For more information
State public health agencies should contact CDC at (866) 933-5295 if they identify patients who meet the case definition.
(CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling
diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible
information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living
through strong partnerships with local, national, and international
- Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention. Example: HAN00001
- Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action. Example: HAN00346
- Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action. Example: HAN00342
- Info Service: Provides general information that is not necessarily considered to be of an emergent nature. Example: HAN00345
This message was distributed to state and local health officers,
state and local epidemiologists, state and local laboratory directors,
public information officers, HAN coordinators, and clinician