ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis after Oral Therapy with Herbal Extracts: A Case Report
Bahar Kaymakamzade 1, Rana Karabudak 2, Aslı Tuncer Kurne 2, Gülay Nurlu 2
1Department of Neurology, Near East University School of Medicine, Nicosia, Cyprus
2Department of Neurology, Hacettepe University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
DOI : 10.5152/balkanmedj.2016.140420
Pages : 366-369


Background: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a rare demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, commonly attributed to infections or vaccinations. Toxic or allergenic compounds can also trigger a response in the immune system and may cause demyelination. We present a case with ADEM after using oral herbal medications.

Case Report: A 25 year-old male developed bilateral central facial palsy and severe quadriparesis after taking herbal drugs (containing echinacea and many other herbal ingredients) for two weeks. He had used the extract to increase his potency and reproductivity. He had no past history of recent immunization or viral infection. The clinical findings, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were compatible with ADEM. The neurological findings were improved after seven doses of pulse methylprednisolone treatment. To our knowledge, this is the third report in the literature that links herbal therapy and demyelinating disease.

Conclusion: Most of the ADEM cases related to herbal therapy in the literature similarly used echinacea. It is our opinion that other ingredients of the herbal extract used by our case, besides echinacea, could have the potential to cause a trigger in the immune system. Further studies are needed to clarify the immunological effects of different kinds of herbal compounds, as well as the effects of different parts of the plants and the results of various dosages. Moreover, ingredients should also be tested for toxicity, adverse effects and drug interactions.

Keywords : Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, autoimmunity, demyelination, Echinacea, herbal medicine, phytotherapy
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