Pharmacist pouring something 311.
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
An illegal diet drug containing sibutramine – withdrawn from the US market last October for safety reasons – has been smuggled into Israel, and has, in recent months, sent a “large number” of people to hospitals, according to Mickey Ariely of the Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Crime Unit.
The product, labelled “Slim Xtreme Herbal Slimming Capsule,” and
presented as a food supplement, poses a threat to consumers because
sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and pulse
rates in some patients, and may present a significant risk for patients
with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure,
arrhythmias and stroke, said the US Food and Drug Administration.
The product may also interact in life-threatening ways with other medications that may be taken.
According to Ariely, some of the Israeli victims were hospitalized not
only in cardiology wards, but also in psychiatric departments.
His unit has already intercepted “thousands” of the counterfeit
“slimming pills,” many of which were sent from the US from websites run
by Israelis abroad.
Ariely said he asked the FDA to enforce the law regarding sibutramine to
catch violators who distribute the counterfeit drugs from the US that
The FDA has already sent out an official warning about Slim Xtreme Herbal Slimming Capsules.
The FDA warned consumers who come across the counterfeit pills to stop using this product immediately and destroy them.
“Consumers who have experienced any negative side effects should consult
a health-care professional as soon as possible,” the FDA warned.