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FDA issues warning on weight-loss drug

Federal health officials warned consumers Friday not to use a supposedly "herbal" weight-loss product sold over the Internet because it contains a powerful prescription stimulant that can be dangerous.

The product, known as "Slimming Beauty Bitter Orange Slimming Capsules," contains the drug sibutramine, which is only supposed to be sold by prescription, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Sibutramine is not listed on the product's label and "could harm consumers," especially those with heart conditions, the FDA said in its warning.

"FDA lab tests reveal that the product contains excessive amounts of sibutramine that may be dangerous to people who have a history of cardiovascular disease, because it can lead to elevated blood pressure, stroke and heart attack," the FDA said.

"Consumers who are otherwise healthy and who take the amount of sibutramine found in Slimming Beauty capsules can experience anxiety, nausea, heart palpitations, a racing heart, insomnia and elevated blood pressure. Sibutramine also may interact with other medications and can cause serious side effects," the FDA said.

The agency is already aware of several reports of "serious side effects" from the use of the product, including elevated blood pressure, headaches, vomiting and insomnia, the FDA said.

The product is sold over the Internet by Beautiful Health Inc., which was formerly known as LL Health and Beauty, the agency said.

"The product and the sample packets are falsely labeled as '100% Herbal,' " the FDA said. "The sample packet label is misleading because it indicates that it is a natural vitamin and calcium capsule for use in children as young as 2 years old."

Samples were distributed at the 40th Annual Mexican Independence Day Parade in Chicago on Sept. 12, the FDA said.

By Rob Stein  | October 8, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  Cardiovascular Health, FDA, Food Safety and Recalls, Obesity, drug safety  
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