The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi has warned residents from using Mena facial cream, a skin lightening product.
Sale and circulation of the cream is prohibited in the UAE, the department said.
According to Al Bayan, the whitening cream includes high amounts of mercury, an toxic metal.
Higher concentration of mercury poisoning can have side effects such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions and digestive issues.
The Department of Health further announced that it has contacted all governmental departments to prevent sale and circulation of the product, and urged the public not to use it.
Self-medication could harm your internal organs, warn doctors
Some people use antibiotics as a ‘quick fix’ for illnesses.
Doctors in the UAE are urging people against self-medicating, warning that popping pills without prescription could not only harm internal organs, but even be fatal.
Dr Osama Farouk Al Harastani, consultant urology, deputy chief medical officer, Universal Hospital, said doctors in the UAE fear an ‘antibiotic-resistance crisis’ in the near future. “We are losing antibiotics, one by one, and they will not be effective on our patients if self-medication continues.”
He warned that although some people use antibiotics as a ‘quick fix’ for illnesses, self-medication is harmful not only on the individual, but for “society as a whole”, as it could cause bacteria to spread in the community.
“If anyone takes antibiotics without following the proper dosages and the correct timings, the bacteria will make a new generation and the new bacteria could return within two-three weeks.
“This is a huge crisis for us, because it’s a risk to society, as it causes the new generation of bacteria to spread to others.” He stressed that the bacteria will develop a resistance to the antibiotic. UAE hospitals receive just one new antibiotic “every five-six years”.
About 10 million deaths by the year 2050 could happen globally as a result of antibiotic resistance.
Reports by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveal that in 2015, nearly $41 billion (Dh150 billion) was made by the global antibiotics market. Profits are expected to reach $44.7 billion in 2020.
“We are afraid about what could happen in 10 years time. If a dangerous infection spreads, how will we treat our patients if the antibiotic stops working?” said Dr Al Harastani.
He pointed out that this was why there are tighter controls and monitoring over pharmacies in the UAE, because there is concern over antibiotic resistance spreading.
“But we still see many patients taking antibiotics from previous prescriptions or given to them by friends and family and even brought to the UAE from their home countries.”
Self-mediation, he added, has a major effect on the patient’s health and internal organs. “The antibiotics could harm various organs, including kidney, liver and stomach, and cause internal bleeding.
“The patient may not even know the effects are from the medicine and if he ignores the symptoms without seeing a doctor, the infection or disease could worsen.”
If the patient has side effects, the painkillers may mask the symptoms, he warned. Moreover, he said doctors could also misdiagnose patients, because of the masked symptoms, which could turn fatal.
Dr Al Harastani said many patients take painkillers, and although most people believe they are harmless, they, too, can affect organs, including kidneys, liver and stomach. “Patients with a previous medical history must not take painkillers without checking with the doctor first, no matter how harmless they think it is.”
Increase in ER visits
Rowida Ismail, in-charge in-patient pharmacy, Bareen International Hospital, said the hospital receives at least 10 cases of patients overusing painkillers per month. “We receive a lot of cases of self medication, especially cases of patients overusing painkillers. Self medication can cause kidney and liver infections and the painkillers could mask the real diseases.”
She pointed out that self medication can also lead to hyper-sensitivity reactions, skin problems, rashes and allergies. “We need more awareness and education about self medication so that people can stop putting themselves at risk in their own homes.
“The side effects and proper dosages must be taken seriously.”
Ismail also strongly warned against the overuse of painkillers. “Overdoses can be deadly, the person will have toxicity over the medication and this is especially evident in painkillers.”