red blood cells

The US Food and Drug Administration has urged consumers to "immediately stop" taking Intestinomicina, a drug manufactured in El Salvador by Laboratorios Lopez and sold as a treatment for infectious diarrhea and acute gastrointestinal infections.

According the agency, the product contains chloramphenicol, a prescription drug ingredient which was withdrawn from the US market in July 2012 due to the risk of "life threatening injuries".

The most serious and life-threatening injury associated with oral chloramphenicol treatment is bone marrow toxicity. Certain types of bone marrow toxicity are reversible, but in rare circumstances it can lead to death.

Intestinomicina is labeled primarily in Spanish and lists the ingredient as "chloramfenicol palmitato," or chloramphenicol in English, on the label.

In a statement, the FDA warned; "Consumers who have purchased this product should immediately stop taking it and consult with a health care provider.

"Patients with anemia, low white or red blood cell count or decreased blood platelets may be at a greater risk of death or serious injury."

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The product also contains antibacterial ingredients including antibiotic neomycin and sulfonamides, both of which also have the potential to cause life-threatening reactions, as well as hives and rashes.

Image: Patients with low red blood cell count may be at greater risk of death when taking Intestinomicina. Photo: Courtesy of