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Archive for the ‘FDA’ Category

By Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. – Posted on Fri, May 08, 2009, 11:01 am PDT

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found more tainted and dangerous weight loss dietary supplements.

Since millions of overweight or obese Americans are desperate to find a pain-free way to lose weight, it is not surprising that unscrupulous companies have seized the opportunity to make millions by promoting worthless, and even dangerous, weight loss products to unwary consumers.

Late in April, the FDA issued a warning to consumers to stop taking the Hydoxycut line of weight loss products, which have been associated with a number of serious adverse effects including liver and kidney failure. Hydroxycut products are probably the best known weight loss supplements and are sold in national chain stores including GNC and Vitamin Shoppe as pills, drinks, and powders. They are promoted as a way to increase energy, burn calories, and control appetite. Although the manufacturer, Iovate Health Services, has voluntarily withdrawn 14 products, the FDA urges consumers who have already purchased them to throw them away.

Some months ago I wrote about a December 22, 2008 FDA nationwide alert, urging people not to buy or use more than 25 weight loss products sold on various web sites and in some retail stores. Subsequently the FDA has issued two more alerts that, by March 22nd, had expanded to 72 the number of weight loss dietary supplements that are tainted with a number of undeclared active pharmaceutical agents. You can find the full list of these products by going to the FDA Web site.

You don’t really need to look at the FDA list of tainted products, though. Again, most weight loss dietary supplements do not work, and I strongly advise you not to take any of them. But I suppose it is necessary to point out that some may be effective based on their content of proven weight-loss drugs. However, it is important to add that some of them can be DANGEROUS because they contain prescription drugs in amounts far greater than the maximum, FDA-approved, recommended doses.

Another weight loss issue was resolved a few months ago. Coke, Nestle, and Beverage Partnership Worldwide were sued several years ago by 26 states and the District of Columbia for falsely advertising that the green tea beverage Enviga can produce weight loss by burning extra calories. The companies have agreed to the following:

– to re-label Enviga and any similar products

– to add disclosures to the label

– to disclaim any weight loss benefit

– to note that weight loss is only possible through diet and exercise.

– to pay $650,000 to the states that brought the suit (seems to me a small price to pay.)

It is encouraging that the FDA is finally showing some teeth in dealing with tainted and dangerous supplements as well as with false advertising.

July 2020


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