SINGAPORE — A weight-loss product called Nutriline Bluvelle has been found to contain a banned substance, and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Wednesday (June 14) cautioned members of the public not to buy or consume it.
The product, marketed as a health supplement for slimming and said to contain natural plant-based ingredients that are “safe and free of side effects”, contained the banned substance sibutramine, said the HSA in a press release.
It cited the case of a woman in her 20s who had experienced “rapid heartbeats, anxiety, a drastic decrease in appetite, dizziness and lethargy” after consuming Nutriline Bluvelle.
“Such symptoms are common adverse reactions associated with the use of the banned substance, sibutramine.”
The woman had bought the product from an online shop based in Malaysia, but the HSA found that it was also sold on several other local and overseas online platforms.
The authority is currently investigating the local sale of Nutriline Bluvelle, and has advised merchants to stop selling the product immediately.
Sibutramine was previously available here as a prescription-only weight-loss drug, but was withdrawn from Singapore in 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Other serious adverse effects associated with the use of this substance include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.
The HSA added that in the past, it had received reports of consumers experiencing “hallucinations or hearing voices, palpitations and breathlessness” after consuming slimming products bought online.
Upon testing, these products were found to contain sibutramine, even though they were marketed as having “natural ingredients”.
The amount of sibutramine found in some of these products might result in a person unwittingly consuming up to eight times the maximum daily dosage of the prescribed amount of the drug when it was previously available only with a prescription.
Such a high dosage “would pose a very serious health hazard to consumers”, said the authority.
It has also advised consumers to exercise caution when buying 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,” it said.
Anyone who supplies illegal health products may be prosecuted and jailed up to three years and/or fined up to S$100,000 if convicted.