The number of recent liver damage cases linked to dietary supplements has risen from 10 to 30 in the last week. All 30 cases have been reported in Hawaii.
The cases range in severity, but seven people have suffered from complete liver failure, and one Maui woman has been given a week to live because she is not eligible for a liver transplant.
In every case, patients reported use of a weight loss or muscle gain supplement, but an exact pill has not been isolated. “We don’t know which product it is and which ingredient it is in the product or products,” State Epidemiologist Sarah Park told KHON.
Hawaii News Now reported that 48-year-old Sonette Marras, who has been given a week to live after suffering liver failure, took OxyELITE Pro, a weight loss supplement. The supplement was banned by the FDA in April of this year after an active ingredient, dimethylamylamine (DMAA) was linked to 86 cases of serious illness or death.
The supplements that the patients reported taking are sold all over the United States, but all thirty of the known liver damage cases have occurred in Hawaii. It is possible that a “bad batch” of supplements were sold only in Hawaii. Exposure to heat has also been known to alter pills’ effects.
The Hawaii State Department of Health is leading the investigation, but has not released any more information since they issued a statewide medical advisory last week. The DOH is working with the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however both of those federal entities are now under furlough due to the government shutdown.