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Herbal slimming pill found to contain high dose of sibutramine

By News team

Herbal Flos Lonicerae (Herbal Xenicol), a weight loss product, has been found to contain more than twice the prescribed dose of the banned substance sibutramine.

Earlier this month, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency advised that the product should not be used and carried out laboratory tests to identify an undeclared pharmaceutical substance it believed was contained in the product.

Last week, the agency announced this substance to be sibutramine, which was suspended across the EU last year because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Anyone currently using this product should stop taking it and consult a healthcare professional immediately, the MHRA has said.

MHRA head of herbal medicine policy Richard Woodfield said: “Since 2005, the MHRA has found over 280 examples where so-called ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ products have been adulterated with random quantities of powerful pharmaceutical substances.”

He said the introduction of the traditional herbal registration (THR) scheme will make it possible for healthcare professionals to give the public clear advice on which herbal products are safe to use, and provide an assurance that they were made in adequate conditions, and to the necessary standard.

Herbal Flos Lonicerae, which is available over the internet and at traditional Chinese medicine shops, has been developed by Bitter Orangs Trade Company and Chinese Scientific Academy.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11068672

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