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Health Agencies Update
February 25, 2009

Tainted Diet Drugs

JAMA. 2009;301(8):817. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.198

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use nearly 70 over-the-counter diet products that may contain dangerous undeclared drugs.

The products were sold on Web sites and at retail stores, often marketed as “natural” or “herbal.” The FDA said that analyses of the drugs revealed that they contained undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients, such as a prescription weight-loss drug (sibutramine), an antiseizure drug (phenytoin), a diuretic (bumetanide), and a laxative that is a suspected carcinogen (phenolphthalein). Some of these compounds were present in doses that far exceed those recommended by the agency for approved uses.

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