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It is embarassing, but sometimes you need to take medication for stomach problems. Ahem, specifically for diarrhea which can result in horrible snafus at work or elsewhere in public if left untreated. However, the Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid a particular anti-diarrheal medication because it has been linked to serious health effects, including death.

The FDA announced that it was pulling all oral forms of chloramphenicol from the market in July, and has urged consumers to discontinue the use of products containing this active ingredient immediately. Chloramphenicol is the active ingredient in Intestinomicina, which is a drug manufactured in El Salvador that comes in liquid and pill forms. It is sold as a treatment for infectious diarrhea at international food and specialty stores.

According to the FDA, the active ingredient chloramphenicol can interfere with the production of white and red blood cells. People with compromised immune systems, such as those with low blood cell counts or those with anemia, are particularly susceptible to injury and even death from the use of the drug. So while diarrhea may be the punchline for many jokes, the effects of taking this drug are no joke indeed.

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