24 Feb 2012
The Department of Health (DH) today (February 24) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product bearing the Chinese name "生源坊" on its capsules and having "Sheng Yuan Fang" printed on the blister pack, as it may contain undeclared and banned drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.
The appeal followed DH’s receipt of notification from the Hospital Authority (HA) about a 53-year-old lady who had a history of consuming a slimming product. The DH commenced investigation immediately.
"The patient attended Accident and Emergency Department of Princess Margaret Hospital on February 3, 2012 because of insomnia and psychiatric symptoms including suicidal ideation and auditory hallucination. Drug-related adverse effect was suspected. She was discharged from hospital on the same day after assessment. Sibutramine metabolites and phenolphthalein were detected in her urine sample.
"She subsequently described a history of consumption of the above slimming product. The HA's laboratory test on the product sample showed the presence of an undeclared western medicine sildenafil, and two banned western medicines including sibutramine and phenolphthalein." a DH spokesman revealed.
DH investigation continues.
"Sildenafil is usually used for treating male sexual dysfunction. The side effects of sildenafil include low blood pressure, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and transient vision disturbances. It may interact with some drugs (such as nitroglycerin for treatment of angina) and cause decrease in blood pressure to dangerous levels. Improper use of sildenafil may pose serious health risks, especially for patients with heart problems.
"Sibutramine is a Part I poison and was once a western medicine used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, products containing sibutramine have been banned because of increased cardiovascular risk. Phenolphthalein is another banned drug. It was once used for treating constipation but has been banned for its possible cancer-causing effect," the spokesman explained.
People must stop using the product immediately and consult a doctor if they feel unwell or are in doubt after taking the product.
The spokesman urged members of the public not to buy products of unknown or doubtful composition, or consume products from unknown source.
"Weight control should be achieved through balanced diet and appropriate exercise. People should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control," the spokesman concluded.