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Ancom Tablets
as Antihypertensive Drugs?

Yolanda R. Robles, PhD

About three years ago, in a study on hypertensive patients conducted by a nursing graduate student, the name Ancom Tablets© was brought to my attention. It was reportedly used by many patients with hypertension in a certain barangay as a replacement for their prescribed maintenance drugs. Curious, I asked for the label and container of the said drug. What then is Ancom and why it has gained popularity among some patients?

Ancom Tablets are a mixture of eight active ingredients in tablet form, in the following proportions:

  • Reserpine Chloride, 30 mg.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide, 3.1 mg.
  • Diazepam, 1 mg.
  • Promethiazine HCI, 2.1 mg.
  • Dihydralazine Sulfate, 4.2 mg.
  • Calcium pantothenate, 1 mg.
  • Magnesium Trisilicate, 30 mg., and
  • Vitamin B, 1 mg.

According to an ad in the Internet, there are clinical reports from big hospitals in Shanghai that Ancom tablets are extensively used in the treatment of hypertension at early and middle stages. When given orally, it purportedly relieves hypertensive symptoms in the patient, and stabilizes the blood pressure. Its dosage regimen is as follows: 1-2 tablets each time, three times dailv. If a sustained fall of blood pressure at a stable level is obtained, the dosage may be reduced gradually to a maintenance dose of one tablet each time, 1-2 times daily.

It is sold as Ancom Tablets: Antihypertensive Compound and are packaged in white plastic bottles of 100 tablets costing only Php 80.00 per bottle. It is manufactured by Shanghai Pharmaceutical Industry Corp. and is exported to the Philippines as a Chinese herbal medicine.

This drug is not available in most drugstores. In fact, peddlers and independent sellers who make house-to-house visits are the ones promoting the use of this drug in the provinces and nearby cities.

Early this year, however, the United States Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) issued a warning regarding the use of this mixture. The combination of ingredients poses possible health risks and that sedation, depression and life-threatening blood abnormalities could result from its continued use. Two companies in the US already issued a recall of these tablets in the market. At least one illness has been linked to the use of this drug.

Why is this drug gaining popularity among Filipino patients with hypertension? It is very likely due to economic reasons. The drug is very cheap, and does not require any prescription when purchased from its source. The label does not carry the Rx sign that, by law, indicates that it is a prescription drug.

Nevertheless, our kababayans should be warned regarding its potential adverse effects, which if not prevented, could be very costly for the patient.

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