The FDA has issued two new consumer updates for fraudulent "dietary supplements" and fraudulent weight-loss "dietary supplements." The agency says dozens of products being sold as dietary supplements actually contain hidden prescription drugs or compounds that have not been adequately studied in humans.
For example, several weight-loss products contain the ingredient sibutramine. Sibutramine was an active ingredient of the prescription durg Meridia. The FDA ordered Meridia removed from the market in 2010 because it caused heart problems and strokes.
Other dietary supplements also contain undeclared or potentially harmful substances. The FDA warns to be on the lookout for:
- products claiming to be alternatives to FDA-approved drugs or to have effects similar to prescription drugs
- products claiming to be a legal alternative to anabolic steroids
You can read these and other consumer advisories at the FDA's Consumer Updates web page.
On May 1, 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to immediately stop using any Hydroxycut products. There are currently 14 different types of products recalled, ranging from caplets to pills and drinks. They are all manufactured by Lovate Health Services Inc., and are widely available in health food stores and supermarkets.
What Is Hydroxycut?
Hydroxycut is used by millions as a dietary supplement for people seeking to lose fat, obtain more energy and build more muscle. The manufacturers of the supplement claim it can burn 4.5 times more calories than diet and exercise alone. However, there have been many reports of serious health damage. The FDA has recently received at least 23 reports of serious liver injuries, including a death of a 19-year-old teenager. The products now being recalled by the FDA include:
The FDA warns anyone using Hydroxycut to stop immediately, and to consult a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:
These symptoms have all been linked to liver damage.
Other side effects associated with Hydroxycut are:
How Can These Supplements Be So Dangerous If They Are Widely Available?
Dietary supplements and vitamins aren't as strongly regulated by the government as medicine. Because Hydroxycut is a dietary supplement, its manufacturer doesn't need to register it with the FDA or even get FDA approval before selling it - meaning that manufacturers have much more freedom than medicine providers. However, the FDA can take action against products it determines are unsafe once they are being sold in the market. Also, any serious side effects reported to the manufacturer of the supplement are now required to be reported to the FDA within 15 days.
After receiving complaints and after FDA pressure, Lovate Health Sciences has agreed to recall the products from the market until further information is gathered.
What Should You Do?
Today, there are a variety of foods and dietary supplements sold in grocery stores and supermarkets, even health food stores. However, you must remain vigilant. It's a good idea to consult your doctor before taking any supplements and carefully examine the list of ingredients.
If you are one of the millions who've used such supplements and are suffering from their side effects, you may be able to receive compensation for your suffering and health damage. Following the FDA announcement, many law firms are encouraging Hydroxycut users to contact them to file a claim.
Tip: Do some research and contact an attorney with Ephedra or Hydroxycut side effect experience, who can protect your legal rights.
What Happens Next?
A lawyer can investigate the details of the injury or death to determine whether or not it was caused by Hydroxycut. Once the cause has been determined, the attorney will be able to file a claim to try to get compensation for your injury and to ensure that the manufacturers of the supplement are held accountable. A lawsuit can seek payment for your:
In the meantime, stop using any Hydroxycut product and check in with the FDA Web site for further updates.