The YouTube promo for Zhen de Shou weight-loss capsules is farcical: The camera slowly pans across photos of depressed overweight girls becoming euphorically thin and warns, "Beware of cheap imitations." But the ad hides a real danger. According to recent tests by the Food and Drug Administration, Zhen de Shou and 68 other weight-loss supplements manufactured in the U.S. and abroad contain undeclared pharmaceuticals. That means millions of Americans popping over-the-counter diet pills might also be unwittingly ingesting medication at potentially deadly doses.
Nearly all the supplements that tested positive contain the appetite suppressant sibutramine, the generic name for Meridia, one of two prescription drugs approved for long-term obesity treatment. Never mind that administering it without a prescription is illegal; sibutramine elevates blood pressure and heart rate and can cause stroke and heart attack. In some supplements, the FDA detected sibutramine levels of four times the highest doctors can safely prescribe.
Worse yet, says Pieter Cohen, a physician at Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, because the products don't list the drugs, "when they do cause problems, people might not make the connection." Cohen discovered this firsthand after some of his patients complained of heart palpitations. It turned out they had been taking Brazilian Diet Pills, which tested positive for a drug that the body turns into amphetamine.
In its investigation, the FDA also found in diet pills such drugs as rimonabant, an appetite suppressant that was pulled from European shelves and never approved in the U.S. because of a potential link to suicide, and phenolphthalein, a laxative linked to cancer and discontinued in 1999. Despite the FDA's warning to consumers last December, as of press time, manufacturers had recalled only three of the supplements. The agency is following up on all the products, says Mike Levy, who oversees new drugs and labeling compliance at the FDA, and can seize the goods if companies don't voluntarily pull them.
So, is there a list of these pills with dangerous contents made available to the public? Where can I find it?
Can you provide information on where to find the information on the FDA site. Like the warning in Dec. 08? I work in the healthcare field in a program that speaks to people about thier dieting choices. We provide medically evidence based information and would like to have this information.
FDA 2008 Safety Alerts for Human Medical Products
Weight Loss Pills
[March 27, 2009 - Consumer Update - FDA]
More Weight Loss Products Added to Consumer Alert
[March 20, 2009 - News Release - FDA]
FDA Uncovers Additional Tainted Weight Loss Products
Agency alerts consumers to the finding of new undeclared drug ingredients
[December 22, 2008 - News Release - FDA]
FDA Expands Warning to Consumers About Tainted Weight Loss Pills
List increases from 28 to 69 products; Agency seeking recalls
[December 22, 2008 - Consumer Questions and Answers - FDA]
Consumer Directed Questions and Answers about FDA’s Initiative Against Contaminated Weight Loss Products
As i found a FDA approved weight-loss supplements at www.nobledrugstore.com/weight-loss-medicine.html , shipping with in 15 days.
How can they be allowed to sell that crap? I know they aren't prescription medicine but when they contain dangerous medications they should be able to be banned from being sold. I really hope the FDA steps in and takes care of this soon.
Fine information, many thanks to the author. It is puzzling to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Very much thanks again and good luck!