FDA Probing Reports of Seizures by Users of E-Cigarettes

REUTERS  Brendan Mc Dermid- RC1DB5CD7580/File

And while it isn't clear whether there is a direct link between e-cigarettes and the seizures, health officials said they found the reports troubling.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating almost three dozen cases of people experiencing seizures after vaping and is warning the public about the risk, the agency said Wednesday. The agency said in its statement on Wednesday that in numerous seizure reports, it couldn't identify a specific brand or sub-brand of device.

The FDA said numerous reports it had received lacked enough information to identify a specific brand or sub-brand of e-cigarettes.

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More research is needed to determine with certainty if the convulsions were caused by e-cigarettes because no specific pattern emerged in the reported cases. Patients varied in their experience with e-cigarettes, from first-time users to seasoned users. The cases under investigation occurred between 2010 and 2019, and the FDA has noticed a "slight but noticeable" increase in reports since June.

In some cases, the seizures happened after the user took a few puffs; in other cases, the seizures happened up to one day after use.

Gottlieb stressed that health officials don't yet know for sure that vaping can trigger seizures, but "we're sharing this early information with the public because as a public health agency, it's our job to communicate about potential safety concerns associated with the products we regulate...."

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"E-cigarette use behaviors also vary and users may deliberately or inadvertently inhale more nicotine than would typically occur", Gottlieb and Abernethy said, adding that e-liquids "have varying levels of nicotine concentrations, and some e-cigarette design features may allow a user to obtain high levels of nicotine quickly".

"It would actually be highly unusual if zero consumers of a product used by millions of adults over the last decade reported suffering a seizure", spokesman Gregory Conley said in a statement.

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The FDA acknowledges that the info it has right now is limited, but has publicized the reports to enable healthcare providers and e-cigarette users to make informed decisions related to use of the products. In most instances, the victims were teens and young adults.

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