Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) is characterized by an elevated eosinophil count (eosinophilia
) combined with muscle pain
, tenderness, cough, rashes and neurologic problems. EMS first appeared in the early 1990s in people taking large amounts of L-tryptophan
, an amino acid supplement often recommended by doctors to enhance sleep.
More than 1,500 cases of L-tryptophan-related EMS have been reported to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 38 patients are known to have died. The true incidence of L-tryptophan-related EMS is thought to be much higher. Some of the individuals suffering from L-tryptophan-related EMS have recovered, while other individuals' illnesses have persisted or worsened over time.
- Blood Disorders: Overview