Weight Loss Medication Updates: Fake forms of Alli spotted, New warnings regarding Meridia

Posted: Jan 25 in Medical Weight Loss News by

Fake versions of GlaxoSmithKline’s over-the-counter diet pill Alli contaminated with dangerously high levels of a prescription weight loss drug, Sibutramine (Meridia) have been spotted according to the FDA. “The amount of Sibutramine in the counterfeit Alli poses a serious health risk to some individuals,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, head of the FDA’s drug unit, told reporters on a conference call. “A person taking the counterfeit Alli as directed would be exposed to twice the maximum prescription dose of Sibutramine every day,” she said.

In related news, the FDA warned earlier this week that Sibutramine should not be used by people with a history of cardiovascular disease including:

  • History of coronary artery disease (e.g., heart attack, angina)
  • History of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • History of heart arrhythmias
  • History of congestive heart failure
  • History of peripheral arterial disease
  • Uncontrolled hypertension (e.g., > 145/90 mmHg)

because it can raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Patients currently using Sibutramine should talk with their healthcare professional to determine if continued use of Sibutramine is appropriate and discuss any questions they may have about their treatment.

Woodcock said even healthy people exposed to the counterfeit Alli pills could experience effects including palpitations, sleepiness, anxiety, nausea and slightly elevated blood pressure. The fake versions were sold on the Internet, including through online auction sites, FDA officials said. There is no evidence of counterfeit versions in stores, they said.

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