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Dangerous and unauthorized weight loss products continue to be sold across Canada

Starting date:
July 25, 2012
Posting date:
July 24, 2013
Type of communication:
Information Update
Subcategory:
Natural health products
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Issue:
Unauthorized products
Audience:
General Public
Identification number:
RA-15042

As the rate of obesity has increased in Canada, so has the market for weight-loss products. While authorized health products for weight loss may provide benefits when used properly as part of a weight management program, the use of unauthorized health products may pose serious risks to your health.

The vast majority of natural health products (NHPs) have a history of safe use and are responsibly marketed. But some products in Canada are marketed or represented as NHPs have been adulterated. Products that are adulterated contain substances that may not be declared on the label, including prescription medications or other potentially dangerous ingredients.

As a result, Health Canada has identified and taken action on a number of unauthorized health products list promoted for weight loss. A number of these products have been found to contain the undeclared pharmaceutical ingredient sibutramine and/or an undeclared pharmaceutical ingredient similar to sibutramine.

Sibutramine was previously used to treat obesity but is no longer authorized for sale in Canada because of its association with an increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack and stroke. In addition to heart attack and stroke, side-effects associated with sibutramine include increased blood pressure and heart rate, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping and constipation.

Health Canada would also like to remind Canadians who are concerned about their weight, to talk to their health care practitioner about the best way to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Moreover, if you are considering the Safe Use of Health Products for Weight Loss, discuss the potential risks with your health care practitioner.

Consulting your health care professional is especially important if you are under the age of 18, or if you are pregnant/lactating, or if you have any medical conditions or serious diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other serious chronic conditions.

If new products that are adulterated with sibutramine and/or an undeclared pharmaceutical ingredient are identified, Health Canada will add them to its list of unauthorized products. Canadians are advised to monitor this list of affected products for any possible updates.

How to report side effects to health products:

  •  Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345
  •   Visit MedEffect Canada's web page on Adverse Reaction Reporting for information on how to report online, by mail or by fax.

List of Unauthorized Health Products - Sibutramine and Phenolphthalein

Sibutramine

Sibutramine was previously used to treat obesity but is no longer authorized for sale in Canada because of its association with an increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack and stroke. In addition to heart attack and stroke, side-effects associated with sibutramine include increased blood pressure and heart rate, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping and constipation.

Phenolphthalein

Phenolphthalein, which was previously used as a laxative, is no longer authorized for sale in Canada because it may cause cancer. Additional side-effects associated with phenolphthalein include decreased blood pressure, skin rash and gastrointestinal bleeding.

List of unauthorized weight loss products
Product Name Hidden Ingredient(s) Retailer Date Added
Brazil Perfect Reducing Fat Coffee Sibutramine, phenolphthalein and caffeine. U-Box,
Burnaby, BC
July 25, 2012
Goya Bittermelon Sibutramine, phenolphthalein and caffeine. U-Box,
Burnaby, BC
July 25, 2012
Cube Inc.,
Richmond, BC
November 30, 2012
S-organic Cocoa+L-carnitine Sibutramine and phenolphthalein. Cube Inc.,
Richmond, BC
July 24, 2013
U-Box,
Burnaby, BC
July 25, 2012
Cube Inc.,
Richmond, BC
November 30, 2012
Super Fat Burning Bomb Sibutramine, phenolphthalein and caffeine. U-Box,
Burnaby, BC
July 25, 2012
KaBaNa L-Carnitine 360 Slimming Coffee Sibutramine and caffeine Cube Inc.,
Richmond, BC
November 30, 2012
NanFangYiRen Slimming Coffee Pure Taste, Perfect Figure Sibutramine and caffeine Cube Inc.,
Richmond, BC
December 20, 2012
Charantin Slimming Phenolphthalein Cube Inc.,
Richmond, BC
December 20, 2012
ZiRanTang Slimming Breakfast Slimming Biscuit & Brazil Black Coffee Sibutramine, phenolphthalein and caffeine. Cube Inc.,
Richmond, BC
December 20, 2012

 


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