Banned Meridia Found in Several Weight Loss Supplements, FDA Warns

The FDA issued a warning this week advising consumers not to use weight loss supplements that contain the same active ingredient as Meridia, a diet drug that was banned in 2010 due to the potential health risks. 

The FDA safety statement concerns several weight loss products, including Mix Fruit Slimming, Lingzhi Cleansed Slim Tea, 24 Ince, Lip 8 Burn Slim Capsules, Slimming Diet by Pretty White and Trim-Fast Slimming Softgel, all of which contain sibutramine.

The agency is urging consumers not to use the products or to purchase them from online or retail stores.

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Recent FDA lab analysis confirmed the weight loss supplements contain sibutramine, although the ingredient was not listed on the label. Officials call the products a “threat to consumers.”

Sibutramine is a controlled substance, which was the active ingredient in the weight loss product Meridia. It was recalled from the market in 2010, due to concerns that users may face an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, while providing little actual weight loss benefits.

The ingredient is known to substantially increase blood pressure and pulse rate in some patients. It also poses a risk to patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke.

After the FDA issued the Meridia recall in October 2010, the agency also issued a warning that sibutramine was found in many other weight loss products which did not list the ingredient on the label, posing a serious threat to unknowing consumers.

Reports of serious side effects from Meridia and other products containing sibutramine included vomiting, high blood pressure, headaches and insomnia; in addition to the life-threatening cardiovascular side effects.

Investigations have revealed sibutramine is an ingredient illegally included in many dietary and herbal supplements. However, the FDA cannot regulate dietary supplements until there is a problem or it has reason to suspect there is a health concern, meaning that many of these drugs are put on the market so that the manufacturer can make as much money as possible before being caught.

Often they return after having changed the packaging and the name of the supplement, knowingly using the banned substance and hiding behind the U.S.’s lax dietary supplement laws. The amounts of the active ingredients in illegal dietary supplements can vary wildly from one pill to the next, increasing the risk of adverse reactions and side effects.

FDA officials also confirmed the Mix Fruit Slimming product also contained phenolphthalein, which is a chemical that is not an active ingredient in any approved drug in the United States. Some studies have revealed phenolphthalein may increase the risk of cancer.

The FDA noted the products also may interact with other medications users are also taking. The interactions may cause life-threatening side effects.

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