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Press Release

Warning on slimming product with banned drug ingredients

27 November 2012

The Department of Health (DH) today (November 27) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product named "Aulura Energy Balance Dietary Supplement" 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 19-year-old female patient who had a history of consuming the above slimming product. The DH commenced investigation immediately.

"The patient attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Queen Elizabeth Hospital on November 19 because of having psychiatric symptoms of tactile hallucination. She described a history of consumption of the above slimming product. A drug-related adverse effect was suspected," a DH spokesman revealed.

"The HA's laboratory test on the product sample showed the presence of two undeclared and banned Western medicines, namely sibutramine and phenolphthalein. Investigations revealed that the patient purchased the product from the Internet. She was discharged from hospital on the same day after treatment. The DH's investigation continues," the spokesman added.

"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 an increased cardiovascular risk. Phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but has been banned for its possible cancer-causing effect," the spokesman explained.

The spokesman urged the public not to buy products of unknown or doubtful composition, or consume products from unknown sources, such as the Internet. "People should consult healthcare professionals if they feel unwell or are in doubt after taking the product," the spokesman urged.

Members of the public who are still in possession of the product can surrender it to the DH's Drug Office, 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon during office hours for disposal.

"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.

The slimming product containing banned drug ingredients: Aulura Energy Balance Dietary Supplement.

27 November 2012