Fatal liver failure following food supplements during chronic treatment with montelukast
High aminotransferases and prolonged prothrombin time on entering our liver unit were revealing parenchymal collapse for this 45-year-old obese woman; treatment failure led her to death. Autoimmunity, paracetamol use, alcoholism, and Wilson's disease were all excluded as causes. Because of chronic asthma, she had been receiving a leukotriene receptor antagonist (montelukast) for 5 years before the current presentation; 1 week before onset she had had 1 week of treatment with two dietary supplements for weight control; one of these included Garcinia Cambogia, a possible cause of two recent cases of hepatitis in the USA; in addition, both formulas contained a citrus derivative that interferes cytochrome functions. We speculate on a causal relationship between the assumption of the additives and the fatal hepatitis and envisage a synergy between the additives and montelukast, which per se has well been studied as a hepatotoxic drug. Despite the speculative nature of this presentation, we believe the warning may serve to focus attention on the uncontrolled escalation of food additives going on in these days.
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