Doctors warn against opening capsules
Updated: 2012-04-18 08:06
By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)
Fearing chromium-contaminated capsules, some patients have begun to explore new ways to take medicine - and not always beneficial ways.
On Monday morning, a 60-year-old woman in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, rushed to hospital after she removed the coating of three capsules and swallowed the medicinal powder directly. She later felt extreme pain in her throat.
"I caught a cold recently and have to take many medicines, but most of them are capsule medicines," the woman, surnamed Huang, told Hangzhou-based newspaper City Express.
A doctor said Huang's esophagus was burned by the powder.
"I worried that medicine capsules tainted with chromium would harm my health. So I opened the capsules and ate the powder directly. I didn't expect it would bring more serious injuries," Huang said.
She is not alone.
Netizens pondered "bright ideas" to avoid swallowing the capsules after an investigative TV program on Sunday claimed that capsules for 13 types of medicine were made by illegal industrial gelatin that contained an excess amount of chromium.
A netizen posted an entry on Sina Weibo with photos, teaching netizens how to take medicine without eating the capsule.
"First, get hot and soft steamed bread," it said. "Steamed stuffed buns and sponge cakes are also OK. Then pull a piece from it, press it flat, and fill it with the medical particles from the capsule. After that, make it into a round ball suitable for swallowing. After that, you can take it safely."
But doctors warned patients "not to take the risk".
"The coating on capsules slows the release of medication into the stomach. It would be extremely dangerous if patients remove the coatings and swallow the powder," said Yu Fei from Shanghai No 10 People's Hospital.