Beware of “Natural” Weight-Loss Supplements Tainted with Potent Drugs

In a recent initiative against contaminated weight-loss products, the FDA finds 69 drugs to be contaminated with prescription drugs and chemicals, and expects the list of brands to grow even longer in the next few weeks, reports Natasha Singer of the New York Times. A complete list of the tainted drugs found so far is available on FDA’s website.

One of the best known drugs on FDA’s list is StarCaps, endorsed by many celebrities, which was found to be tainted with bumentanide, a powerful diuretic that can give rise to serious side effects. FDA’s Michael Levy said that many of the products “either contain dangerous undeclared ingredients or…have no effect at all.”

These weight-loss products are not only illegal – FDA considers a supplement unapproved if it contains an undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredient – they also pose dangerous risks for consumers. For one thing, the ingredients on their own can cause problems like elevated blood pressure or seizures. Worse, the hidden ingredients can have toxic interactions with other medications, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose patients or manage their illnesses.

Although many of the distributors of these 69 drugs have voluntarily recalled the products, others continue to sell them on the internet. Consumers taking weight-loss supplements should monitor FDA’s growing list of products they should avoid and consult their doctors for a healthy and safe weight management plan.

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