Detox dangers: doctors must warn patients about potential life-threatening effects

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As patients embrace their New Year’s resolutions to get fit and lose weight, some may chose to undertake a detox programme using complementary products. Experts are warning that it is important for doctors to look out for such behaviours among patients and to be cogniscent of the side effects and interactions of such products, which could pose a serious threat to patient health.

The warning follows a recent case where a previously well and fit 47-year-old woman presented to an emergency department with seizures secondary to euvolaemic hyponatraemia. The history revealed recent increased oral fluid intake and increased use of herbal remedies including valerian root over the New Year period. She responded to careful sodium replacement therapy in...