13 December 2010

No more sibutramine - what now?

Has the withdrawal of sibutramine-containing slimming pills, shattered your hopes for weight loss? Don't despair, says DietDoc, there are other winning ways to achieve your goals.

The writing has been on the wall for any weight loss medications containing the compound sibutramine since January of this year. On 21 January Lisa Richwine published a report on “EU Agency Urges Ban on Diet Drug” in Reuters Health. The drug in question was sibutramine, the active ingredient in products such as Reductil, Ectiva, Ciplatrim and Meridia. Recently Simply Slim, an over-the-counter (OTC) herbal slimming pill, was found to contain high levels of sibutramine. The product was withdrawn from the South African market and recently relaunched without sibutramine (Pretoria News, 2010).

The article in the Pretoria News (2010) also pointed out that the MCC has said that it intends taking “appropriated action” against generic versions of sibutramine-containing drugs such as Ciplatrim. A weight loss programme combining Ciplatrim and Weigh-Less was launched at the beginning of September 2009 and many of Health24's users reported that they were using it with varying degrees of success. In view of the MCC statement, Cipla may also be asked to withdraw Ciplatrim in the near future.

  • If you are at present taking any slimming medication purchased in South Africa that contains sibutramine (i.e. Reductil, Ectiva or Ciplatrim), please contact the prescribing doctor or your pharmacist and discuss the risks associated with taking the remaining pills in your possession. If you experience any side-effects or have any doubts, stop taking these medications immediately. Rather safe, than sorry.
  • Do NOT order any pharmaceutical products that contain sibutramine over the Internet (i.e. product such as Reduxane and Zelium from Europe, and Meridia from the USA or other parts of the world).
  • Be aware of the fact that some OTC slimming products may be illegally laced with sibutramine. The Pretoria News article published last Monday warned that a product called Beauty Bitter Orange Slimming Capsules, which is reputedly “100 percent herbal”, was found to contain excessive amounts of sibutramine when tested by the FDA of America (Pretoria News, 2010).
  • Avoid using OTC slimming pills, capsules, potions, liquids, and patches because they could contain undisclosed high levels of sibutramine, or be a waste of money or cause other undesirable side-effects like addiction, dehydration or loss of normal bowel function. 
  • Never give children or teenagers slimming pills of any kind as they may damage their metabolism and have serious side-effects.


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