30 Apr 2010
The Department of Health (DH) today (April 30) called on members of the public not to buy or use a slimming product "LAMI" as it was found to contain undeclared western drug ingredients that may cause serious side effects.
The appeal followed investigations by DH into a report by the Hospital Authority concerning a woman feeling unwell reported after taking the product.
Laboratory tests on the product sample showed the presence of sibutramine and spironolactone.
The 28-year-old woman developed psychiatric symptoms including auditory and visual hallucination, paranoid ideas, and low mood since April 21 after taking the product.
She was hospitalised in Kwong Wah Hospital on April 23 and discharged in stable condition on April 26.
Investigation revealed that she had bought the slimming product from a shop in Lok Fu.
Investigations by DH are continuing.
A caution against a similar product was made on June 4, 2008.
Sibutramine is a western drug ingredient used as appetite suppressant for slimming and is under close medical supervision. Its side effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, symptoms of psychosis and possibly convulsion. People with heart problems should not take it.
Spironolactone is a drug used for reducing the amount of water in the body and is used to treat oedema and heart failure. It can cause headache, drowsiness and gastro-intestinal disturbances.
Products containing sibutramine or spironolactone must be registered before they can be sold in Hong Kong. They are classified as prescription-only medicine and can only be sold on a doctor's prescription and dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist, a DH spokesman said.
He said:"Sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products is an offence under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment."
"People should stop using the product immediately. They should consult a doctor if they feel unwell after taking the product."
The spokesman urged people who had used the product to stop taking it immediately and seek advice from healthcare professionals if they felt unwell.
People should submit the products to the department's Pharmaceutical Service at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours, or destroy them before disposal.
"Weight control should be achieved through good diet and appropriate exercise. People should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control," the spokesman said.