SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued a warning against Nutriline Bluvelle, a weight loss product sold online.
The product, which is marketed as a health supplement for slimming, contains the banned substance, sibutramine.
Sibutramine was previously available as a prescription-only weight loss drug but has been withdrawn from Singapore since 2010, due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Nutriline Bluvelle claimed that it contains natural plant ingredients which are "safe and free of side effects".
Other serious adverse effects associated with the use of sibutramine include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.
A woman in her 20s experienced some side effects, such as rapid heartbeats, anxiety, a drastic decrease in appetite, dizziness and lethargy, after consuming Nutriline Bluvelle, HSA said.
She had purchased the product from an online shop based in Malaysia, but HSA has detected that the product was also sold on several other local and overseas online platforms. HSA is currently investigating the local sale of this product.
HSA alerted members of the public not to buy or consume the product.
It said that it has received past reports of consumers experiencing hallucinations or hearing voices, palpitations and breathlessness after consuming slimming products bought online.
These products were tested to contain the banned substance sibutramine, even though they were marketed to contain natural ingredients.
"The level of sibutramine found in some of these products might result in a consumer unwittingly taking as high as up to eight times the maximum daily dosage of the prescribed amount of sibutramine, when it was previously available as a prescription-only drug. This would pose a very serious health hazard to consumers," it said.
HSA advised members of the public to:
- Stop taking Nutriline Bluvelle immediately, and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health;
- Be wary of health products that promise or deliver quick and miraculous weight loss. Such products may contain prescription medicines which should only be taken under medical supervision, or undeclared potent or banned ingredients that may seriously harm your health. Do not gamble with your health;
- Do not trust online product reviews, as these testimonials usually cannot be verified;
- Exercise caution when purchasing health products online. Anyone can be a seller on these e-commerce platforms. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They could potentially be counterfeits or adulterated with undeclared potent or banned ingredients which can seriously harm your health.
- Members of the public are encouraged to visit www.healthdangers.sg to learn more about the dangers of buying health products from dubious sources.
HSA added that sellers must stop selling Nutriline Bluvelle immediately.
It is illegal to sell and supply complementary health products containing undeclared potent Western medicines or banned substances, it said.
Anyone found guilty of supplying illegal health products can be jailed for up to three years and/or fined up to $100,000.