Hydroxycut Liver Damage Cases Highlighted in New Study

U.S. researchers say that they have conducted a study which further links the weight-loss supplement Hydroxycut to liver damage, acute liver failure and death

The study, published late last month in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, looked at 17 cases of liver damage where Hydroxycut may have been a factor and found that in many of them, the likelihood that the weight-loss supplement was the cause of the damage was almost a certainty. In addition, the study suggests that the number of people affected by Hydroxycut liver damage could be much larger than the number of cases that prompted a Hydroxycut recall last May.

Hydroxycut is a dietary supplement and weight-loss aid that was recalled on May 1, 2009, after the FDA identified a number of reports where users suffered serious and potentially life-theatening liver damage. The FDA also reported that use of Hydroxycut was linked to reports of seizures, heart problems and a rare muscle damaging condition known as rhabdomyolysis.

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Iovate Health Sciences, the manufacturer, faces a number of Hydroxycut lawsuits over liver damage and other injuries in state and federal courts. The federal cases have been consolidated and centralized for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. All of the cases in the litigation over Hydroxycut involve allegations that Iovate Health Sciences failed to adequately research their weight-loss products or warn about potential side effects of Hydroxycut.

In the new study, researchers looked at cases that had not yet appeared in medical literature, and examined the patients’ risk factors for liver disease, and the timing of Hydroxycut usage in connection with liver damage. In eight cases, scientists said there was a greater than 95% chance that the weight-loss supplement caused the patients’ liver damage. In five of the 17 cases, researchers concluded that it was “highly likely” that Hydroxycut caused the patients’ liver damage, meaning there was a 75% to 95% chance. In another two cases, Hydroxycut was ruled probably to blame, with a chance of 50% to 74%.

Researchers were able to eliminate most other likely causes for the liver damage. Subjects were generally healthy, with an average age of 30, and they were able to eliminate autoimmune diseases and exposure to other toxins that may have caused liver problems. In their conclusions, the researchers warned consumers to be cautious about the use of such weight-loss supplements, which are not clinically tested and do not need to be approved by FDA.

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