UK Sends Warning about Spiked Online Slimming Supplements

August 18, 2011

MHRA includes a list of specific products that health agencies in Sweden, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United States have warned about.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK is advising consumers not to buy herbal slimming products, especially those sold online that may contain pharmaceutical ingredients. In its warning, MHRA includes a list of specific products that health agencies in Sweden, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United States have warned about.

Among the ingredients MHRA warns about are phenolphthalein and sibutramine. Phenolphthalein has been used as a laxative but is no longer allowed for sale in the UK because of claims it may cause cancer. Sibutramine has been used to treat obesity but has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular vents such as heart attack and stroke. In addition, MHRA warns against other ingredients similar to sibutramine, such as tadalafil, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction.

“We urge people not to take any slimming medicines or products bought online without consulting with a pharmacist or doctor as they risk being supplied with medicines that are not safe or not suitable for them to use,” stated Richard Woodfield, group manager for Herbal Medicines Policy.