HCM CITY (VNS)— Nguyen Minh Tam (not real name) of District 7 gained weight and began to develop stretch marks all over her body after taking a traditional medicine dose for acute sinusitis without a doctor's prescription.
Tam has suffered from sinusitis for years because of contact with dust in her daily work.
After hearing a friend's advice, she brought a package of traditional medicine tablets without a label of origin, but the sinusitis actually became worse.
Like Tam, many people in HCM City try to treat their acute sinusitis through traditional medicines that are sold without labels of origin.
Signs advertising the medicines can be seen at small groceries on Tran Xuan Soan Street in District 7 and on Ho Ba Phan Street in District 9, as well as some other districts.
Online sites such as Kenh Sinh Vien and MUABANYDUOC.vn also advertise these medicines.
Tran Van Nam, deputy head of the HCM City Traditional Medicine Institute, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that his institute had admitted many patients like Tam.
They all use medicine without verification, which is sold illegally on the market for treating acute sinusitis, according to Nam.
Some of the medicines are mixed with corticosteroids in order to treat acute sinusitis quickly, he added. The corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medicines and ease pain fast.
However, the medicine's side effects include weight gain, thinning skin that can bruise easily, muscle weakness and the weakening of bones.
If they are used longer than three months, patients could end up with Cushing's Syndrome, which is a disorder of the adrenal cortex or pituitary gland that causes fatty deposits on the face and stretch marks across the body, as well as acne.
Existing diabetes and high blood pressure could worsen, he said.
Dr Tran Huu Vinh, head of the City Health Department's Traditional Medicine Management Division, warned that patients should visit reputable traditional medicine facilities for check-up and treatment if they opt to use alternative medicine.
Vinh said that illegally sold medicines are dangerous to people's health. — VNS