The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has cautioned pregnant women against the use of pills, creams and others that serve as skin lightening agents since they could have an adverse effect on their unborn babies.
Women who are also breastfeeding (lactating mothers) should desist from using those products because they could be dangerous to not only their health but their babies as well.
Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) FDA, who made these known at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, named Glutathione as one of the common products used by pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Pregnant women are made to believe that those creams, tablets, capsules, pills and injectables, would lighten the skins of their unborn babies, which she described as false.
She said the safety of Glutathione has not been established in pregnant and lactating mothers but believes it could cause serious health problems to them and their babies.
“Glutathione is made up of three amino acids: Cysteine, glutamic and glycerine and these are naturally produced by our bodies and found in almost every cell in the body,” she noted.
She explained that it was a food supplement, which has found its way onto the Ghanaian market though it had not been prescribed, leading to an abuse.
The CEO said the FDA had registered some brands of Glutathione in minimal doses of 100 to 500 milligrams (mg) but the unapproved ones were between 1,500mg and 2,000 mg.
Other bleaching products on the market, which had not been registered with the FDA she mentioned were Gluta Prime, Phyto Collagen, King of Whitening, Gluta White and Ivory capsules skin enhancement formula.
She warned against it being offered for sale in the open market as a drug, cosmetic or to cure certain diseases, saying, it is criminal to do that.
Mrs Darko said the prescribed ones when exceeded the recommended dosage, results in side effects such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, allergic reaction and serious toxic side effects; exacerbated Asthma, chest pain, breathing problems and damaged lungs.
The CEO said, even though FDA had intensified its monitoring of border posts and market surveillance across the country, it needed the support of members of the public to fight the influx of those products, which sources could not be traced.
Swoops had been done and a quantity of the products seized whereas a number of the sellers have been arrested and currently assisting police in their investigations, she said.
Mrs Darko thanked the media for thoroughly educating Ghanaians on the dangers of the abuse of Tramadol and substances containing codeine.
Mr Kofi Capito, a consumer advocate called on the section of the media that take seriousness out of context to desist from it, especially, when it came to health issues.
He urged them not to give false impression to the youth about bleaching creams and other substances that they tend to abuse.