In what many investigators fear could be a national outbreak of acute nonviral hepatitis, a man from Kona, Hawaii, is the latest person to be hospitalized with liver failure linked to the dietary supplement OxyElite Pro.
Thirty-four-year-old Thad Estrada first took the supplement in 2011, when he was trying to lose weight, Hawaii News Now reports. He stopped taking OxyElite Pro after shedding about 25 pounds, but last spring began taking it again after regaining some weight. This time, though, the supplement did not produce the same results. He stopped taking it around Sept. 25 and soon after began to experience fatigue and nausea, and his eyes and skin turned yellow, signals of liver trouble. Blood tests at a local Kaiser health facility revealed liver damage and Estrada flew to Oahu to be admitted to Kaiser Moanalua.
According to Estrada, doctors have ruled out causes for the liver damage except the diet supplement, Hawaii News Now reports.
Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a safety alert about the dangers of acute hepatitis following the use of OxyElite Pro. In Hawaii, more than two dozen cases of nonviral hepatitis in previously health individuals have been reported since May, Infection Control Today reports. The CDC called back a furloughed public affairs worker to handle the alert and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called back furloughed technical experts to help investigate the hepatitis cases.
Twenty-nine people have been hospitalized around Hawaii with acute noncontagious hepatitis of unknown origin; two have required liver transplants and one person has died. Of 29 identified patients, the CDC says that 24 (83 percent) reported using OxyElite Pro during the 60 days prior to the onset of their illnesses. There were no other dietary supplements or medication use in common by more than two patients. A national effort has identified several people outside Hawaii with reported acute hepatitis of unknown cause. The CDC, working with state health departments, is collecting additional data to determine if this outbreak is national in scope. The supplement, in name brand and knock-off versions, is available nationwide.
The CDC asks doctors to report hepatitis cases that may be connected to this outbreak to local or state health departments and to the FDA’s MedWatch program online https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/ or by phone at 1.888.INFO.FDA.