News Briefs

FDA Skeptical that Green Tea Reduces Risk of Certain Cancers

The FDA recently announced the results of a review of qualified health claims that green tea may reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Based on a systematic evaluation of the available scientific data, FDA has made the following statements:

  • “Two studies do not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, but one weaker, more limited study suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk. Based on these studies, the FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer.”
  • "One weak and limited study does not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer, but another weak and limited study suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk. Based on these studies, the FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer.”

The FDA also concluded that existing evidence does not support qualified health claims for green tea consumption and a reduced risk of any other type of cancer.

NCCAM Offers Continuing Education Series on Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, is offering a new on-line continuing education series on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This lecture series offers health care professionals and the public the opportunity to learn more about CAM therapies through video lectures by some of the leading experts in the field. Health care professionals can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits; users who complete all the test chapters can generate an on-line certificate. The CME series is free and can be viewed at http://nccam.nih.gov/videolectures.

The series currently has six different lectures. Each lecture includes an overview of the CAM area, a review of research results and ongoing research, and discussion of the historical and practice perspectives.

CAM topics covered are:

  • Overview of CAM
  • Herbs and other dietary supplements
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Acupuncture: An evidence-based assessment
  • Manipulative and body-based therapies: Chiropractic and spinal manipulation
  • CAM and aging

Each lecture includes:

  • A video lecture by a scientific expert
  • The lecture transcript
  • An on-line test that can be taken to receive CME credits (credits for nurses will be added soon)
  • Additional resource links

For additional information, call NCCAM’s Clearinghouse toll free at (888) 644-6226, or visit the NCCAM web site at http://nccam.nih.gov.

Nationwide Alert Issued for “Liqiang 4” Because of Potential Health Risk

The FDA is warning consumers not to take Liqiang 4 dietary supplement capsules because they contain glyburide—a drug that could have serious, life-threatening consequences in some people.

Glyburide is used to lower blood sugar, and is safe and effective when used as labeled in FDA-approved medications. People who have low blood sugar or those with diabetes can receive dangerously high amounts of glyburide by consuming Liqiang 4, the FDA says. Consumers should stop using these products immediately and seek medical attention, especially if they are currently being treated with diabetes drugs or if they have symptoms of fatigue, excessive hunger, profuse sweating, or numbness of the extremities. Consumers who have this product should get rid of it immediately.

The product is sold as part of a shrink-wrapped two-bottle set. One of the 90-capsule bottles is labeled “Liqiang 4 Dietary Supplement Capsules;” the other bottle is promoted as a “bonus pack” of Liqiang 1. At this time the FDA is evaluating Liqiang 1 and other versions of this line of products to determine their composition and safety. The product is manufactured by Liqiang Research Institute, China, and is marketed throughout the United States in herbal stores and through mail-order by Bugle International of Northridge, CA.

The FDA learned of the potential problem through an anonymous consumer complaint and followed up with testing that revealed the presence of glyburide in this product. The product has also been termed “Liqiang Xiao Ke Ling” (Liqiang Thirst Quenching Efficacious) in ads in Chinese language publications, which also promote it as useful for the control of diabetes and being derived from only natural ingredients.