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Medicine Alert: TGA Announcement for Andrographis Paniculata herb

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have asked us to share information about the herb Andrographis paniculata (andrographis), commonly used in Indian and Chinese medicine. It is known as the 'king of bitters'.

Medicines containing andrographis may cause allergic reactions – which can include life-threatening anaphylaxis – in some people. 

  • Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have been reported to occur in people who had used the product previously without any reaction.
  • Immediately stop using a medicine containing andrographis and seek medical advice if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • If you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, seek urgent medical attention (call triple zero [000] for an ambulance).
  • If you have ever had any symptoms of an allergic reaction after using a medicine containing andrographis, avoid using all medicines containing this herb.
  • If you have previously experienced a severe allergic reaction including anaphylaxis to any trigger, you should avoid medicines containing andrographis. This is because the risk factors for a severe reaction to andrographis are unknown.
  • Remember to check the ingredient label for Andrographis paniculata (andrographis).
  • Since 2019, TGA have received more than 200 reports of anaphylaxis and/or hypersensitivity reactions to medicines containing Andrographis.

About Andrographis

  • Andrographis is a widely used medicinal herb that can be bought in supermarkets, health food shops and pharmacies without a prescription.
  • Approximately 100 medicines listed in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) contain andrographis.
  • It may be present in multi-ingredient herbal medicine products that are typically used for relief of cold and flu symptoms, or for immune support.

Below are examples of products reported to the TGA containing andrographis that have each resulted in a number of people having a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) over recent years:

  • Armaforce (noting there are a number of Armaforce branded products, and not all contain andrographis)
  • Metagenics Andro NK
  • Swisse Ultiboost Immune Action
  • Blackmores Bio C + Cold Fighter
  • Centrum Immune Defence & Recovery
  • Ethical Nutrients Immune Defence
  • Immunity Force
  • Mediherb Andrographis Complex

To find out if andrographis is an ingredient in your medication, you can use the search function on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods website: ArtgSearch

Andrographis and Echinacea

Most of the reported side effects for andrographis are for multi-ingredient medicines that contain both andrographis and Echinacea species (echinacea) together with other ingredients. Echinacea is another herbal ingredient often used in medicines for relief of cold and flu symptoms and immune support. Echinacea has also been reported to cause allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.

If you experience an allergic reaction to a medicine containing both andrographis and echinacea, you should avoid medicines containing either ingredient in the future. 

To view the TGA alert click here

If you or a family member has had an allergic reaction or side effect to a medication, you can report this to the TGA here:  Report a problem or side effect | TGA

If you have any questions, please contact the TGA using their contact form - Get in touch with us | TGA

 
 
 
 

IN AN EMERGENCY

If you are having an allergic reaction follow advice on your ASCIA Action Plan.

If in doubt, give the Anapen® or EpiPen®.

Do not call us for emergency advice.

If you do not have an ASCIA Action Plan and/or an Anapen® or EpiPen® call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.