Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Colour not to be sneezed at

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The “Feedback” page of this week’s New Scientist (15th July 2006) contains the following observation:

AND on the subject of drugs… a reader’s son was recently diagnosed with allergic rhinitis – hay fever to most of us. The family GP prescribed a modern antihistamine, desloratadine, in the form of a bright orange, bubblegum-flavoured syrup.

Dad, a chemist, was interested to read the list of ingredients. These include the colorant E110, also known as Sunset Yellow FCF or Orange Yellow S. According to the European Union website, E110 is (by virtue of its “E”) a regulated food colouring agent. Its list of rare but known effects includes hives, rhinitis (runny nose), nasal congestion, allergies, hyperactivity, kidney tumours…

Obviously, dose is all when it comes to toxicity, but surely the manufacturers could find a colourant that doesn’t cause the same symptoms as the problem the medicine is supposed to treat. Dad insists his 10-year-old would take his medicine whether it was bright orange or not. As it is, if his symptoms persist, how will the GP know what to blame? New Scientist

It’s great that the New Scientist is pointing out these very stupidly obvious facts to the public, but they aren’t going far enough. One has to question the morality and motives of medicine manufacturers who package the cause of the illness in with the cure.

Considering around 30% of asthmatics react to azo dyes – which serve no purpose except as cheap colourants for the advantage of the manufacturer – and 17% of adults suffering chronic urticaria and/or angioneurotic oedema react specificially to the dreaded E110 Sunset Yellow, the likelihood of a reaction in a child suffering allergic rhinitis is hardly “rare but known”, in fact, based on these figures one could easily make a ball-park guess of a one in five chance of a specific reaction to the medication. “Obviously” dose is all when it comes to toxicity: tolerance being close to zero in a significant chunk of the population, particularly children.

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Written by alienrobotgirl

17 July, 2006 at 10:56 am

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