A drug confusion has turned twenty Spanish children into ‘werewolves’.
Due to inadequate labeling on the packaging, a group of children were given minoxidil, a hair growth drug, instead of omeprazole to treat gastric reflux.
Even after the families complained, it took more than two months for authorities to realize what had happened and ordered the recall of all mislabeled drugs.
How the laboratory FarmaQuimica Sur, located in Malaga, managed to make the mistake is not yet clear. The lab is closed as a precaution.
And two years after the mistake was originally made, some of the kids reportedly still grew excess hair all over their bodies – a condition known as hypertrichosis or ‘werewolf syndrome’.
The mother of one of the children, interviewed by the Spanish TV channel Antena 3, complained: “Why does it take more than two months to test drugs? We have not been told anything. I am furious, scared and feel misunderstood and [shown] a total lack of empathy ”.
The children’s families filed civil and criminal complaints against a laboratory and several companies responsible for importing and distributing the drug, and against two pharmacies in Cantabria who were later cleared of guilt by a judge.
The families of the children have complained that despite the treatment, the hair continues to grow and they are demanding compensation.
Hypertrichosis is a known side effect of certain medications and is also linked to certain medical conditions, such as cancer, anorexia, and hormonal imbalances, such as hyperthyroidism.
In the past, people born with severe hypertrichosis, such as the famous Alice Elizabeth Doherty and Julia Pastrana, made the best of their condition by seeking work on traveling freak shows.
The condition isn’t unique to humans – in 2014, a Persian cat named Atchoum was born with hypertrichosis and became a brief Internet sensation as ‘the werewolf cat’.