SINGAPORE: A weight loss product promoted as an appetite suppressant for weight loss was found to contain two undeclared potent chemicals that could pose serious health risks to individuals with heart conditions, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Thursday (Sep 13).
In a news release, HSA warned members of the public not to purchase or consume the product, known as Ke Le, which has packaging labelled in Korean.
HSA tests found that the product contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are used to treat the common cold, flu and allergies by relieving symptoms such as coughing and a blocked nose.
A local woman in her 30s advertised and sold the product on a Facebook page named S.C.L.T.W.
On the page, the seller posted personal testimonies and photos of herself before and after taking Ke Le, claiming to have lost about 11kg.
Based on her recommended dosing instructions, the amount of ephedrine taken per day by unknowing consumers would have been more than four times the limit for the treatment of common cold, flu and allergies, according to HSA.
"Such dangerously high levels of ephedrine can cause serious and life-threatening adverse effects, especially in consumers with existing medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, heart problems, thyroid disease) and when taken together with caffeine-containing products," HSA said.
The adverse effects include an increased heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, stroke, seizures and even death, it added.
HSA said that when its enforcement officers raided the seller's home, they found packets of Ke Le hidden among other food items in her refrigerator.
The authority seized the products and directed the seller to remove the product listing from her Facebook page and stop the sale of the product immediately, it said, adding that the seller is currently assisting in investigations.
"NO QUICK AND EASY WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT"
In the news release, HSA advised consumers to stop taking Ke Le immediately and consult a doctor if they feel unwell or are concerned about their health.
They also advised consumers to be wary of health products, including beverages, that promise quick and miraculous results in weight loss.
In addition, consumers should not trust online product reviews as they usually cannot be verified, and should exercise caution when purchasing health products from unknown or unfamiliar sources online, according to HSA.
HSA also said all sellers and suppliers must stop selling Ke Le as the product is illegal.
Anyone convicted of supplying illegal health products may be jailed for up to 3 years and fined up to S$100,000.