The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has increased its national warning of a weight loss drug counterfeit. The drug, Alli, is available over the counter in the United States, but counterfeit versions of it are reportedly being sold over the internet, in particular at auction sites, the FDA says.
The original Alli weight loss pills are made with a substance called orlistat, whereas the fake pills are made with a stimulant called sibutramine. While sibutramine is an ingredient that is used in other weight loss medication, it is only safe in small doses, which are reportedly thoroughly exceeded in the counterfeit pills.
Preliminary tests conducted by Glaxo-Smith-Kline, the maker of the product, determined the fake pills contain such a high amount of sibutramine that consumers following the directions of the regular Alli pills would be taking three times the daily dosage of sibutramine.
Side effects of taking these fake pills can include the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Tachycardia (racing heart)
- Small increases in blood pressure
These pills can prove to be particularly dangerous for people with a history of cardiovascular disease, the FDA says, as the side effects in these consumers can potentially lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
All counterfeit products must be disposed of immediately, the FDA continues in their press release, because the product is illegal and unsafe.
How do I recognize the counterfeit product?
The FDA has found minor differences in the packaging of the medication by which consumers are able to tell whether they have purchased the original product or a fake. Here a few things by which you can distinguish real from fake:
- The date: original Alli product seal shows only the month and the year (6/12), whereas the counterfeit shows the day, month and year (06062012).
- The large capsules of the counterfeit product contain white powder, whereas the original contains little pellets.
- The inner safe seal is only plain foil on the counterfeit product, whereas the original says “Sealed for your protection”.
For images and more ways to be able to distinguish the original from the counterfeit product, click here to go to the FDA website.
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Image: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/755952Tags: diet obesity weight loss