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Babies develop ‘werewolf syndrome’ after medical mix-up in Spain

Several babies in Spain have been diagnosed with "werewolf syndrome.".
Several babies in Spain have been diagnosed with "werewolf syndrome.". Dominika Roseclay/Pexels

Don’t go to Spain during a full moon.

Parents and health officials in Spain are howling mad after a laboratory mix-up resulted in more than a dozen very hairy, very queasy children.

Spain’s health ministry says at least 17 children have been diagnosed with so-called “werewolf syndrome” after they were given a hair-growth treatment instead of another drug meant to help with heartburn.

One mother said her six-month-old son started growing “adult eyebrows” and hair all over his body.

“My son’s forehead, cheeks, arms, legs and hands were covered in hair,” Angela Selles told Spanish newspaper El Pais. “It was very scary.”

Photos show her son, Uriel, with a fine down on his arms and back.

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Another mom told Spain’s El Mundo newspaper that she became alarmed when her 22-month-old daughter started growing hair on her face.

Officials say all of the affected children, including several babies, grew hair all over their bodies as a result of the mix-up. They’re expected to recover from the condition, known as hypertrichosis, within about three months.

Spanish Health Minister Maria Luisa Carcedo says the mix-up happened because a laboratory put minoxidil, which is used to treat hair loss, into bottles labelled omeprazole, which is used to treat stomach issues. The mislabelled drugs were shipped to pharmacies in several parts of the country, where they were given out as as a stomach treatment remedy.

Minoxidil is often used as a topical treatment. However, it was being administered to the children orally because parents thought it was omeprazole syrup.

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Carcedo says the drugs have been pulled from the market, and the lab, FarmaQuimica Sur, has been closed as a precaution.

The public prosecutor in Cantabria has opened an investigation, and several families have filed criminal lawsuits against the drug maker, the New York Times reports.

A spokesperson for the health department in Andalusia in southern Spain says three babies and a seven-year-old were affected in that area. All four kids are now doing well, according to the AFP.

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It should be several more years before these children start growing hair in weird places again.