Four non-Chinese patients, middle-aged or older, developed agranulocytosis while taking Chinese herbal medicines for relief of arthritis and back pain. All four developed life-threatening infections with bacterial sepsis; one died.
The herbal medicines were shown to contain substantial amounts of undeclared aminopyrine and phenylbutazone, drugs that are well-known causes of agranulocytosis. These Chinese herbal medicines are widely available over the counter throughout the United States.
(JAMA 231:352-355, 1975)
Ries CA, Sahud MA. Agranulocytosis Caused by Chinese Herbal MedicinesDangers of Medications Containing Aminopyrine and Phenylbutazone. JAMA. 1975;231(4):352-355. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240160016019