SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) recently issued a warning against weight loss product Nutriline Bluvelle, which contains the banned substance sibutramine.
Sibutramine, which was previously available as a prescription-only weight loss drug, has been withdrawn from Singapore since 2010, due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Here are seven other products that were flagged by HSA in the past one year:
1. ANYANG HERBAL PRODUCTS
Marketed as weight loss products containing "100% natural ingredients", Anyang Herbal Blue and Anyang Herbal Red in fact have very high levels of sibutramine.
Anyang Herbal Red is also found to contain undeclared potent western medicines.
2. PHQ 1001 KHASIAT PENAWAR HERBA QASEH SERATA HERB
Sold on various social media platforms and overseas websites, this product claims to be a traditional herbal remedy for a variety of medical conditions such as pain, impotence, kidney diseases and stroke.
It initially seemed to deliver on its promise - a consumer in her 60s took the product for her knee pain and experienced rapid relief of the pain.
But she experienced rapid weight gain and developed a puffy face after consuming it regularly for a few months. She was later diagnosed with diabetes and Cushing's syndrome. Both conditions were likely the result of Dexamethasone, a potent steroid found in the product.
3. SD BIOLINE HIV AG/AB COMBO ASSAY
Nine lots of SD BIOLINE HIV Ag/Ab Combo Assay were recalled by HSA in early June. These lots had reduced sensitivity, which HSA said could result in false negative HIV results for individuals who were tested during the early stages of an HIV infection.
All 36 healthcare facilities supplied with SD Bioline HIV Ag/Ab Combo Assay test kits were directed by HSA to stop using the them and to use other alternative rapid HIV test kits until further notice. Clinics and hospitals were also advised to review the HIV test results of all individuals tested using the affected lots and to perform re-tests as necessary.
4. SNAKE POWDER CAPSULES, JC GOLD AND TU CHO PAN CHI PIAN
Two people were hospitalised for about a week after consuming Snake Powder Capsules for three weeks. The capsules claimed to contain natural ingredients, including a protein found in various snake species' venom, and are meant to treat a variety of illnesses such as pneumonia, hepatitis and shingles.
Both victims suffered from liver injury instead.
The product was found to have a multitude of undeclared ingredients, including Dexamethasone, Chlorpheniramine and Ibuprofen.
JC Gold is meant to treat joint pains through use of natural herbs, while Tu Cho Pan Chi Pian is supposed to treat rheumatic joint pain, backache and numbness of the limbs.
However, a consumer in her 60s was hospitalised for about a week for Cushing's syndrome after consuming JC Gold for about four months.
In a similar case, a consumer in his 70s was hospitalised for over a week for Cushing's syndrome after taking Tu Cho Pan Chi Pian for a few years. The likely cause in both cases was Dexamethasone, which was not declared in the products' ingredients.
5. LONGRED OYSTER-X AND LIFESPARKS 100% NATURAL PAIN RELIEF SUPPLEMENT
A consumer in his 60s took LONGRED Oyster-x to prevent prostate problems, and LifeSparks 100% Natural PAIN RELIEF SUPPLEMENT for his leg pain and gout.
Within a day, he experienced rapid pain relief. But after a week, he developed severe gastric pain and facial swelling. He sought treatment from a general practitioner and has since recovered. Both products were found to contain undeclared potent ingredients.
6. VIP BIO MANGOSTEEN COMPLEX
This weight-loss product sold online claims to contain only natural ingredients, including fruit and herbal extracts.
Testing by HSA however found that the product contained very high levels of a prohibited western medicine, sibutramine, and another potent undeclared western medicine, phenolphthalein. The former could possibly lead to side effects such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate and irregular heartbeat. The latter had the potential to cause rashes, abdominal cramps and breathing difficulties.
7. ANANDA THUKHA REMEDY FOR DIABETES, 1 DAY DIET, and BEE BRAND QI LI XIAN
Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes was marketed as a "medicine for complete cure of diabetes". It was later found to contain undeclared potent ingredients such as Glibenclamide and Yohimbine.
A woman in her 60s purchased the product from a retail shop in Peninsula Plaza for her diabetes, upon the recommendation from a friend.
She had been consuming it for about three months before seeing her doctor for sore throat and tiredness. She was diagnosed with agranulocytosis, a serious blood disorder, and was hospitalised for almost two weeks.
Marketed online as a "100% pure natural" slimming product with no side effects, 1 Day Diet in fact contained sibutramine. As a result, a woman in her 30s experienced breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, and excessive sweating of palms after consuming the product.
Another female consumer purchased Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang to help her husband relieve his body aches. However, after about a month of consumption, the man experienced low blood pressure and low levels of cortisol - a hormone involved in regulating body metabolism.
It was later discovered that the product contained Dexamethasone.
Sellers were told to stop selling all three products immediately.