Vitamin B17

Enforcement | 26/04/2019

Amygdalin-containing drugs are not approved in Austria, but have been used for some time in complementary medicine as an alternative to conventional methods in cancer therapy.

According to the latest findings of the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG), these products are also used in the prophylaxis and cancer treatment of animals.

Amygdalin, which is also advertised and sold under the wrong name "Vitamin B17", belongs to the group of cyanogenic glycosides. In the presence of water and the enzyme β-glucosidase, prussic acid (cyanide) is released from amygdalin, which can lead to cyanide or prussic acid poisoning. Not administering the antidote, sodium thiosulphate, in case of prussic acid poisoning can result in severe symptoms of poisoning or even death.

Due to the lack of data on the benefits or positive effects of preparations containing amygdalin, the risk of such products is not related to their supposed (but previously unproven) benefits. Possibly, high veterinary costs for the treatment of poisioning symptoms may arise after administering amygdalin to one's pet.