Jakarta. The Indonesian government has bought more antidotes to treat children with acute kidney injury (AKI) allegedly because of poisoning from chemicals contained in paracetamol syrup as the number of cases and deaths continues to grow, an official said on Thursday.
“We received a commitment from Japan on the supply of 200 vials of antidotes earlier this week," Health Ministry spokesman Mohammad Syahril said in Jakarta.
In addition, the delivery of 70 vials from Singapore is expected to arrive this week, he said.
The antidote, called fomepizole, is used to treat patients with methanol and ethylene glycol poisoning.
The country has recorded 269 cases of children with AKI and 157 deaths in 27 provinces as of Thursday.
“That means [the fatality rate] is 58 percent,” Syahril said.
Earlier this month, the ministry imposed a blanket ban on the sales and distribution of syrup medicines which have been linked to the surge in cases of kidney failures among children in a number of countries.
The Food and Drug Supervisory Agency, or BPOM, has ordered the recall of at least five brands of paracetamol and cough syrups for allegedly containing ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG) at a level unsafe for humans.
The number of new cases has been declining since the syrup medicine ban was imposed on October 19.
Syahril said the government earlier procured 26 vials of fomepizole from Singapore and another 16 vials from Australia.
He claimed that the antidote has been proven effective in preventing deaths or severe symptoms among young AKI patients, adding that 10 of 11 patients receiving the medication at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta are recovering steadily.
"There is no fatality and worsening condition among them. They are now able to pass urine and laboratory examinations no longer detect ethylene glycol among the 10 children,” he said.
"This medicine is free for patients but the treatment can only be conducted at hospitals through injections.”