Consumers are being warned against using Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen weight loss capsules because they contain at least one potentially harmful ingredient that is not listed on the label, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
Tests on the Chinese-made capsules from various distributors nationwide showed that they contained one or two undeclared drug ingredients.
One is sibutramine, which was taken off the U.S. market in 2010 for safety reasons. It is known to significantly boost blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may pose a serious risk to patients with a history of heart disease, heart failure, heart rhythm problems, or stroke.
Read: life after sibutramine
The other potentially harmful ingredient is phenolphthalein, which may pose a cancer risk and is not an active ingredient in any approved drug in the U.S., the FDA said.
The agency has received dozens of reports of problems experienced by people taking the capsules, including increased heart rate, heart palpitations, suicidal thoughts, chest pain, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, increased blood pressureand seizures.
Anyone who has suffered harmful side effects while taking the product should see a doctor, the FDA said.
Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen is manufactured by Guangzhou Zi Xiu Tang Biotechnology Co., Ltd. in Guangdong Province, China and is sold on the Internet and in various retail stores, spas and fitness centres. Licensed health care professionals have also promoted the product.
"Products that contain hidden drugs pose a real danger to consumers," Carol Bennett, acting director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.
"This is especially true when the products have names that mislead consumers into believing they are safe and natural."
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