Candy Overindulgence Leads to Seizures, Hypertension
Candy consumers may want to not over-indulge in licorice, as the candy has been associated with tonic-clonic seizures in a new case study published in the journal Pediatric Neurology.
The report describes a 10-year-old boy who was admitted to a hospital in Bologna, Italy following a two-minute tonic-clonic seizure. Three generalized seizures occurred in the child over the next few hours; the patient also had elevated blood pressure and was complaining of a bad headache. Cranial computed topography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) did not show signs of major clinical conditions that could lead to posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES).
In a follow-up examination one week later, doctors noted that the boy's teeth were black and the patient admitted to eating at least 20 licorice candies per day for the past four months. This amount of licorice consumption per day contains 2.88mg/kg of glycyrrhizic acid (an active ingredient of licorice), which exceeds the World Health Organization's recommended maximum of 2mg/kg. The excessive glycyrrhizic acid contributed to the development of hypertension and PRES; after stopping licorice consumption, antihypertensive treatment was gradually reduced and his blood pressure returned to normal.
The authors warn that the risk of seizures from licorice is of particular concern in children with low body weight. Additionally, they urge that licorice candy manufacturers add a recommended daily amount on the product packaging to reduce the risk future events.
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