FDA Investigating Reports of Neurologic Risks Tied to Vaping

Megan Brooks

August 09, 2019

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing to investigate a possible link between e-cigarettes and seizures or other neurologic symptoms and "strongly" encourages health providers and the public to report details of any incidents of seizures following e-cigarette use via its Safety Reporting Portal.

The FDA posted an initial warning in April, saying they had 35 reports of seizures related to the nicotine-vaping devices, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

As of August 7, the FDA has received a total of 127 reports of seizure or other neurologic symptoms among e-cigarette users (92 new reports since April). In addition, some users have reported fainting or tremors, which may or may not be related to seizures, the FDA said. The reported cases go back to 2010.

"The FDA is continuing its scientific investigation to determine if there's a direct relationship between the use of e-cigarettes and a risk of seizure or other neurological symptoms," Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, said in a statement.

"Additional reports or more detailed information about these incidents are vital to help inform our analysis and may help us identify common risk factors and determine whether any specific e-cigarette product attributes, such as nicotine content or formulation, may be more likely to contribute to seizures," said Sharpless.

The FDA requests that health care providers assessing neurologic symptoms ask patients about e-cigarette use and report potential cases. 

"It is imperative that health care professionals, consumers, parents, teachers and other concerned adults, as well as youth and young adult users, report detailed information about any past or future incidents of seizures following e-cigarette use to the FDA," Sharpless said.

In addition to potential neurologic problems with vaping, health officials are also investigating a cluster of 15 cases of severe lung problems potentially related to vaping among teens and young adults in the Midwest, as reported by Medscape Medical News

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, as of July 31, US poison control centers have managed 2439 exposure cases related to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine this year.

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