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Health Agencies Update
January 25, 2012

Weight-loss Products Targeted

JAMA. 2012;307(4):351. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are cracking down on companies marketing so-called homeopathic weight-loss products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) for over-the-counter sales.

The agencies sent letters (http: //tinyurl.com/opt85s) to warn the makers of such products that they are illegally marketing unapproved products and are making unsubstantiated claims by saying the products promote weight loss when used along with an extremely low-calorie diet (generally 500 calories per day). The FDA challenges the assertion that the products are homeopathic, saying that there is little evidence to suggest that taking this HCG, which is made by the placenta and found in the urine of pregnant women, would increase weight loss beyond the weight that would be shed by consuming a low-calorie diet alone.