G6PD or Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase is an enzyme naturally found in the body, which helps in the proper function of red blood cells. Deficiency takes place when the amount of G6PD in the red blood cells is below the normal level, hence, it is called G6PD Deficiency or sometimes referred to as favism.
Most of the time, people with G6PD deficiency are completely healthy, but for some, it may cause serious health problems.
Problems Involving G6PD Deficiency
G6PD-deficient people may experience complications due to this condition. A mother who has favism has a tendency to pass it on to her children, who may experience yellowing or jaundice shortly after birth. This is more likely to happen with baby boys. Untreated jaundice can become severe and may be fatal for newborn babies. Jaundice is usually treated with UV light exposure for a few days until the yellowing subsides. Most of the babies that are diagnosed with G6PD shortly after birth experience jaundice.
Children and adults who are G6PD-deficient may develop conditions like anaemia and haemolysis when “triggered”. Triggers include: fever, certain medicines, eating fava beans. The child may or may not show symptoms of haemolysis when exposed to one of these triggers. Serious cases, however, may show symptoms of severe anaemia, such as pale skin, rapid heartbeat and breathing, fatigue, shortness of breath, backache, jaundice, and dark urine (almost like tea).
Medicines People with G6PD Deficiency Should Avoid
- acetylsalicylic acidâ€‹ (ASA or Aspirinâ€‹)
- ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
- methylene blue
- nalidixic acid
- sulfamethoxazole (Co-trimoxazole, Septra)
- sulfisoxazole (Pediazole)
- toluidine blue
Keep in mind that some medicines that are not listed here may still trigger the symptoms of G6PD Deficiency. Always consult your doctor before giving any medicine. Apart from these medicines, close contact with naphthalene or mothballs should be avoided as well.