SINGAPORE - Two young people have been hospitalised after consuming weight loss products purchased online.
The two - one a teenager and the other a man in his 20s - had symptoms of hallucinations and acute kidney failure after consuming the pills, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in a statement on Wednesday.
HSA warns members of the public not to purchase or consume these two weight loss products, namely Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet and Nutrex Research Adipodex, which are believed to be "illegal", according to the health authority.
When tested, Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet was found to contain potent, undeclared chemical ingredients, such as sibutramine, benzyl sibutramine (a chemically-related compound of sibutramine) and phenolphthalein. Sibutramine, a weight loss drug, has been banned in Singapore since 2010 due to serious safety concerns. "The level of sibutramine detected was found at high quantities that could increase the toxicity of this product," said HSA.
The second product Nutrex Research Adipodex, marketed online as a dietary supplement, was labelled to contain yohimbine which is a potent western medicinal ingredient not allowed in supplements sold locally.
The two cases were reported to HSA by healthcare professionals recently when the teenager experienced hallucinations after consuming Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet for more than a month to lose weight. She was hospitalised as a result.
The man in his 20s had consumed Nutrex Research Adipodex and suffered acute kidney failure, leading to hospitalisation.
Both products were purchased online and were touted to help in weight loss. Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet was labelled to contain all natural ingredients such as grapefruit, raspberry ketone, hawthorn berry, green tea and pomegranate. The product claimed to work in '7 miracle ways' to increase metabolism, and burn fats, while Nutrex Research Adipodex claimed to be a 'powerful stimulant weight loss sensation'.
Investigations into these products and the sale of them are currently on-going.
Anyone convicted of selling these illegal products may face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years under the Poisons Act; and a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years under the Medicines Act.
Members of the public who are consuming these products are advised to:
(i) Stop using Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet and Nutrex Research Adipodex immediately and consult a doctor if they feel unwell. Undeclared potent ingredients may cause possible adverse reactions and drug interactions with other medications, which can harm consumers' health and well-being. Consumers with medical conditions are advised not to self-medicate and seek the proper medical treatment for their conditions.
(ii) Be wary of complementary health products (e.g. health supplements, traditional medications) which make exaggerated claims or promise to provide rapid weight loss.
(iii) Exercise caution when purchasing their health products, and obtain them from reliable and reputable sources locally. The dangers of online purchasing include the lack of information on the sellers' location, the source of their products and the conditions under which the products were manufactured and stored. Products sold online could also potentially be counterfeit or adulterated with undeclared potent ingredients.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these two illegal products or other illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at 6866 3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.