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Dietary supplements tied to two new cases of liver damage

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 04:54 p.m. HST, Oct 10, 2013

The number of cases of liver damage connected to use of a dietary supplement has climbed to 32 in Hawaii as state and federal officials continue their investigation into the cause.

The state Department of Health today said one of the two new cases is on Kauai, but no information was given on the origin of the second.

Health officials are looking into whether the new cases are linked to the product OxyELITE Pro, which the state has ordered removed from store shelves across the state. 

Of the cases under investigation, 24 patients reported using OxyELITE Pro. "No other supplement or medication has been identified in common among more than two patients," health department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.

Stores are prohibited from selling, shipping or discarding the product, Okubo said. 

Inspectors are visiting stores statewide today to ensure shelves are cleared of the dietary supplement.

Violators will face fines ranging from $500 to $10,000. Possible criminal penalties may also be imposed for those who fail to comply.

The health department said the cases date as far back as May, ranging from hepatitis, acute liver inflammation and liver failure. The damage has led to two liver transplants and one death.

Sonnette Marras, 48, of Maui, died Oct 4 after taking the dietary supplement for several weeks to lose weight she had gained from her last pregnancy. Marras, a construction laborer for Local 368 of the Laborer's Union, had seven children ranging from 1 to 26. 

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eoe wrote:
That seems like a very slow response to something that is killing people
on October 10,2013 | 11:27AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
This is different, now an order. Getting serious. From now on, most who think of these unsubstantiated products will have second thoughts and not buy them.
on October 10,2013 | 11:53AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Just because this stuff is sold in stores and nicely packaged, it doesn't mean it's safe. This is a graphic example of that. Parents especially need to be meticulously involved in understanding and regulating what their kids are buying and taking. These supplement stores are very, very dangerous places. They're selling bigger, faster, stronger by drug, and skinnier, healthier, more beautiful in a bottle. That should set off alarm bells, but apparently hasn't.
on October 10,2013 | 12:30PM
hilopango wrote:
True beauty cannot be obtained from a bottle.
on October 10,2013 | 12:45PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
What I find interesting is that this seems to be happening only in Hawaii. I would think that if this were a mass produced project available on line or at retailers nationwide that cases of liver failure would pop up elsewhere unless only Hawaii got a bad batch of the stuff. Very mysterious indeed.
on October 10,2013 | 03:49PM
patk wrote:
Must be some other common link that is being overlooked. Unfortunately, the FDA and CDC are on furlough so things will drag along slowly.
on October 10,2013 | 08:05PM
jydru wrote:
I have a friend who works for the CDC in California and they also issued warnings for this product to the regional hospitals...
on October 11,2013 | 12:54AM
patk wrote:
There is no regulation on health and diet products. The FDA is not involved, aside from banning certain ingredients. No one knows what any of this stuff is doing to your body.
People are st*pid to ingest these things just because it says nice things on the bottle, or because it makes them feel or perform a certain way.
on October 10,2013 | 08:03PM
hikine wrote:
This only goes to show that diet and exercise is the best way of losing weight as taking a shortcut will have it's consequences. It might take awhile to lose weight but at least it's safe.
on October 11,2013 | 02:01AM
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