Dubai: The Ministry of Health has warned against using Celerite, a herbal weight loss pill that can cause heart palpitations and has ordered its withdrawal from the market.
Radio 2: Nasreen Abdulla reports on the herbal slimming pill being taken off the shelves in the UAE
* Audio supplied by Radio 2
The warning follows a similar cautionary notice last year recalling all products that contain the substance sibutramine after clinic trials showed it can cause heart attacks. Celerite also contains sibutramine.
"It increases the heart beat and is not safe for people suffering from cardio-vascular problems and hypertension," said Dr Amin Al Amiri, CEO for medical practise and license at the Ministry. He believed that Celerite could have been brought in through the municipalities under the food and beverage category. He said the ban follows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning about such tainted weight loss pills.
Leading pharmacies in Dubai said on Sunday that they do not have this fat burner or appetite suppressant on their shelves.
According to Thin Report, a diet pill guide on the web, Celerite does not have a manufacturer’s website and has some unusual ingredients to help weight loss. One of the ingredients is konja root, that swells and blocks a portion of the stomach once it reaches the gut, leaving you feeling full. But you will need 1,000mg for it to be effective, it said.
FDA says on its website that these weight loss products are marketed as "dietary supplements”. It said that they claim to be “natural” and contain only “herbal” ingredients, but contain potential harmful ingredients, which are not listed on the product label or in promotional advertisements.
It also says sibutramine can cause high blood pressure, seizures, rapid heart beat, palpitations, heart attack or stroke. It said that this is an emerging trend where over-the-counter products, which are frequently sold as dietary supplements, contain hidden active ingredients that can be harmful. It has identified 69 products with names as ‘7 Days Diet’ to ‘Slim Waistline’.
The Health Ministry had earlier also ordered the withdrawal of Reductil, which contains sibutramine from the market.
A majority of UAE residents are obese due to sedentary lifestyle, eating fast foods and lack of exercise. Many try to reduce weight and resort to weight loss pills as Celerite or take extreme steps as gastric bypass that cuts down the size of the stomach. Many teenagers also use weight loss pills to look slim and many of these products do not require a doctor’s prescription.
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