Irish patients warned against weight-loss procedure in Turkey after rise in botulism cases – The Irish Times

Patients from Ireland and other EU countries have been warned against gastric botox treatment in Turkey amid a surge in life-threatening illnesses linked to clinics there.

According to the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC), 67 cases of botulism related to gastric botulinum toxin surgery have been reported since late February. All involved patients had undergone a weight loss intervention.

The vast majority (53 cases) occurred in Turkey, with further cases detected in Germany (12 cases), Austria (1 case) and Switzerland (1 case).

Of the 63 cases for which further information was available, 60 were linked to a private hospital in Istanbul and 3 to a private hospital in Turkey.

Symptoms ranged from mild to severe, and several cases have been hospitalized, according to the ECDC. Of those hospitalized, “some” were reportedly taken to intensive care and given botox antitoxin.

Anyone traveling to Istanbul or Izmir for intragastric botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) treatment between 22 February and 1 March is encouraged to seek medical advice, especially if they experience weakness, respiratory and/or Symptoms such as difficulty swallowing. Treatment limits stomach contractions and reduces appetite.

“The ECDC strongly encourages EU/EEA citizens to avoid the intragastric use of BoNT for the treatment of obesity in Turkey as this is currently associated with a significant risk of developing botulism,” the Stockholm-based monitor said on Tuesday. , it is unclear whether this event represents a treatment or procedural issue at the hospital involved, or whether there is a problem with the product being administered.”

The ECDC said investigations conducted by Turkish authorities revealed that licensed BoNT products were used in the treatment, but these products were not approved for the treatment of obesity by intragastric injection. “As a result, the relevant departments of the two hospitals have suspended their activities and are investigating all parties involved.”

Botulism is a rare but life-threatening illness caused by toxins produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum in soil and dust.

The toxin attacks the nerves, brain and spinal cord and causes paralysis. Most people make a full recovery with treatment, but if left untreated, the paralysis can spread to the muscles that control breathing. This is fatal in about 5% to 10% of cases.

People who receive Botox injections for cosmetic reasons, such as smoothing wrinkles or controlling muscle tone, may develop botulism if too much is used.

Many Irish people have died from medical complications in Turkey over the past year, according to the Foreign Office.

RCSI has published guidelines if you are considering traveling abroad for surgery here.

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