The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) warned the public not to consume three health products which have caused serious side effects in people who took them.
The three products are:
- Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes,
- 1 Day Diet,
- Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang.
HSA found two undeclared potent ingredients in Ananda Thukha, a ‘remedy for Diabetes’: Glibenclamide and Yohimbine.
Glibenclamide is a prescription-only medicine for diabetes and should only be used under medical supervision, it can also cause adverse effects such as very low blood sugar levels, and certain blood disorders in rare cases.
And Yohimbine is a potent western medicinal ingredient, which may cause insomnia, anxiety, palpitations, sweating and blurred vision, the HSA informed in an advisory on Thursday (22 Dec).
A woman in her 60s had to be hospitalised for almost two weeks after she consumed the product marketed as a medicine for complete cure of diabetes. According to the HSA, a friend recommended ‘Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes’ to the woman, who later bought it from a retail shop in Peninsula Plaza.
After consuming the product for three months, the woman began suffering sore throat and tiredness.
She went to a doctor and was diagnosed with agranulocytosis, which is a serious blood disorder of a low white blood cell count that caused the sick to be prone to infections.
After running tests, the HSA found two undeclared potent ingredients mentioned above. The HSA said it has seized all the implicated products from the retail shop at Peninsula Plaza for further investigation.
The HSA informed further, ‘1 Day Diet’ has been used by a woman in her 30s who experienced breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, and excessive sweating of palms after consuming it for less than 2 weeks. The product contained sibutramine, which has been disallowed for sale in Singapore since 2010 for causing serious safety concerns.
And ‘Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang’ has been used by a man in his 50s, who had suffered from body aches. He began using the product bought overseas by his wife around one month but soon after he stopped using it he suffered low blood pressure and low levels of cortisol (a hormone involved in regulating body metabolism). The HSA examination of the product found that it contained dexamethasone — a potent steroid. Long term use of an oral steroid without medical supervision can cause high blood pressure, cataracts, increased risk of infections, and Cushing’s syndrome, warned the HSA.
A Cushing syndrome is a debilitating endocrine disorder characterized by excessive cortisol levels in the blood which may be the result of a tumor of the pituitary gland, adrenal glands (located above the kidneys) or from tumors or cancer arising elsewhere in the body
The HSA advised those who have purchased or who are currently consuming these products to:
- Immediately stop consuming them, and consult a doctor if feeling unwell.
- See a doctor as soon as possible for consumers of Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang because it contains a potent steroid. Discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, moreover when these products have been taken for more than a few weeks.
- Be cautious when trying health products from online or other sources, even if from well-meaning friends and relatives. If buying online, consumers should buy them only from websites with an established retail presence in Singapore.
Under the Health Products Act, selling illegal health products can be fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed up to three years.
The offenders will also face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail of up to two years under the Poisons Act and a penalty fine of up to $5,000 and/or jail of up to two years under the Medicines Act.