Werewolf Syndrome Strikes Children In Spain

Excessive hair growth and enlarged gums are the primary symptoms of Hypertrichosis (Werewolf Syndrome). A number of infants and children in Spain have recently been diagnosed with the condition. The condition can cause hair to grow over the entire body or in patches. Thick, course hair grows from areas of the body typically covered in fine fuzzy hair, including hands and the face.

As parents in Spain came forward after seeing these traits develop in their children, health officials started looking for a common thread. They discovered that all of the children diagnosed had been treated for acid reflux with a medicated syrup that contained omeprazole, which is produced by Farma-Quimica Sur.

At some point in company's distribution process, a different drug called minoxidil was mistakenly labeled as omeprazole and shipped to pharmacies in Granada, Cantabria, Valencia, and Andalusia, Spain. Minoxidil is commonly used to treat hair-loss from male pattern baldness and alopecia.

Unlike people who are born with the condition or develop it genetically, the 20 children in Spain who have developed hypertrichosis as a result of ingesting minoxidil may not experience long-term symptoms. Parents of the children are being told that the excess hair should thin out in the coming months and that reduced organ function should regenerate over time.

Despite reassurances about overcoming the condition, parents are still fearful and angry at officials. Four families affected by the medicinal mix-up have filed criminal charges against Farma-Quimica Sur.

Photos: Getty Images.

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