Glucosamine warning after ‘healthy man’ dies of liver failure
CONCERN has been raised over the safety of a popular alternative medicine used for pain relief by arthritis sufferers after it was associated with the death of a “healthy” man.
Weeks after he started taking glucosamine, an over-the-counter remedy, Norman Ferrie had died from liver failure, an inquiry into his death heard yesterday.
Dr John Dillon, a consultant gastroenterologist at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, said there was a “worrying” relationship between the 64-year-old’s use of the supplement and his death and warned others to be wary of taking it.
He said it was one of a number of cases in the Tayside area that had caused him concern.
Dr Dillon said: “There was a strong temporal relationship between (Mr Ferrie) starting to take the glucosamine and the onset of his illness.
“I cannot prove it is causal because there have not been enough cases to explore it more widely. But people need to be aware of the fact there may be an association between this and liver failure.”
He called for glucosamine and other alternative medicines to be regulated and tested in the same way as licensed prescription drugs.
Ironically, he said that, unlike most alternative remedies, glucosamine, derived from crab and lobster shells, had been shown to have worked in countering some arthritic pain.
“It is a drug which has a potential benefit in reducing joint pain, but it is still a controversial area.
“We should treat it in the same way as licensed medication.”