FDA warns public vs. use of glutathione

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

January 18, 2024, 8:05 pm

MANILA – Glutathione products with indications related to the treatment of “Cisplatin chemotherapy” are the only ones approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Other than that, kung ang produkto na ina-apply sa FDA ay hindi related sa treatment ng Cisplatin chemotheraphy ay hindi namin inaaprubahan ito (we do not approve products submitted to the FDA that are not related to Cisplatin chemotherapy treatment),” FDA Attorney III Pamela Angeline Sevilla said in a radio interview on Thursday.

Cisplatin chemotherapy is used for the treatment of advanced stage of cancer of the bladder, ovaries, or testicles. Cisplatin is an antineoplastic agent that interferes with the growth of cancer cells in the body.

The FDA and the Department of Health (DOH) have been warning the public against unprescribed use of glutathione in previous years.

Nonetheless, the number of people using them seems to increase along with the increase of unregistered glutathione products sold online via social media platforms.

Sevilla noted the online sellers of unregistered glutathione products may have not undergone the FDA authorization process or may have applied for authorization but did not meet FDA’s standards.

In its Public Advisory No. 2019-182, the FDA warned the public against the dangers of injectable lightening agents such as glutathione which are usually offered at health and beauty salons, wellness spas, and beauty clinics.

The agency said such products could be toxic to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. It can also open potential transmission of infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B.

On Wednesday, DOH Secretary Teodoro Herbosa emphasized the importance of health education and monitoring of clinics providing "unsafe" skin treatments.

This was in response to a report about a 96-year-old woman died after undergoing glutathione and stem cell intravenous infusion from a clinic in Quezon City.

Sevilla said that FDA has regulatory activities in coordination with the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in response to death reports linked to glutathione product usage.

She reminded everyone to verify the product registration status of supplements, medicines, cosmetic products and devices, and food via the FDA’s portal before consuming or purchasing them. (PNA)