Traditional Indian medicines linked with membranous nephropathy


  • Mary Corcoran
  • International Medical News
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Researchers have sounded a warning over the potential dangers of certain traditional Indian medicines after five patients developed membranous nephropathy due to chronic mercury poisoning believed to be from traditional Indian medicines. 

The five cases occurred in patients taking Siddha (two patients) and Ayurveda (three patients). The index patient received oral Siddha medicine for sinusitis for five months, and a second patient received it for breast cancer for 12 months. Both patients developed severe nephrotic syndrome, five and nine months after the consumption of Siddha medicine, respectively. One patient received topical Ayurveda medicine intermittently for skin lesions for 10 years and developed less severe nephrotic syndrome. Severe nephrotic syndrome was also seen in two patients who received Ayurveda medicine for two months for asthma. 

The authors are encouraging clinicians to consider mercury poisoning in patients with anti-phospholipase A2 receptor antibody-negative membranous nephropathy, with history of consumption of traditional Indian medicines.

They said while the optimal treatment of mercury-induced membranous nephropathy is unclear, it is essential to withdraw the medicines suspected to contain mercury. Oral dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonic acid (DMPS) markedly increased the excretion of mercury in two of the cases. 

The findings are published in the Clinical Kidney Journal.