The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued warnings to the public not to buy or take three "health products" - Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes, 1 Day Diet and Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang - which have caused serious side effects in people who consumed them. All three have been found to contain undeclared potent Western drugs.

A woman in her 60s who consumed Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes for about three months, sought help from her doctor for sore throat and tiredness. The pellets were bought at a shop in Peninsula Plaza.

She was consequently diagnosed with agranulocytosis, a serious blood disorder as a result, according to HSA.

"The patient has a low white blood cell count and is prone to fall sick from infections. She was hospitalised for almost two weeks," it added.

Undeclared potent ingredients found in "health products"

HSA has found two potent undeclared ingredients in the product - glibenclamide and yohimbine - and seized all other implicated products from the shop at Peninsular Plaza for further investigations.

Glibenclamide is a prescription-only medicine for diabetes and may cause adverse effects such as very low blood sugar levels and certain blood disorders in rare cases. Yohimbine is associated with insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, sweating and blurred vision, was also found in the product.

Members of the public who have purchased or are currently consuming Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes are advised by the HSA to stop immediately and to consult doctors if they are feeling unwell.

In the same advisory, HSA advised against the consumption of 1Day Diet and Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang as well.

Sibutramine and dexamethasone found in other products

A woman in her 30s experienced breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, and excessive sweating of palms after consuming 1 Day Diet capsules for less than a fortnight. It was found that 1Day Diet contains sibutramine, a prescription weight loss drug that may cause high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings, which has been banned in Singapore since 2010.

In a separate case, a woman bought Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang from overseas, for her husband who is in his 50s and suffering from body aches. He consumed the product for a month before stopping. The man experienced low blood pressure and low levels of cortisol, throwing his metabolism off balance. The pills were found to contain dexamethasone, a potent steroid found in many other products HSA has banned.

Long term use of an oral steroid without medical supervision can cause high blood pressure, cataracts, an increased risk of infection and Cushing's syndrome, characterised by the appearance of a round face or "moon face" and upper body obesity with thin limbs, said the HSA.

HSA urges to be wary of false marketing by "health products"

"Consumers need to be wary of complementary health products that offer quick cures and relief of chronic illnesses. Do not be enticed by their false promises as they may contain undeclared potent ingredients that can pose serious health risks, said Associate Professor Chan Cheng Leng, acting group director of the health products regulation.

HSA advises members of the public who have consumed Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang to consult a doctor immediately and those who have consumed 1 Day Diet to stop consuming immediately and consult a doctor if they are feeling unwell.

Vendors found to be selling illegal health products can be fined up to S$100,000 and/or jailed up to three years under the Health Products Act and face a penalty fine of up to S$10,000 and/or jail of up to two years under the Poisons Act, as well as a penalty fine of up to S$5,000 and/or jail of up to two years under the Medicines Act. MIMS

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Sources:
http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/woman-hospitalised-after-taking-medicine-complete-cure-diabetes
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/alert-on-3-health-products-found-to-contain-undeclared-potent/3387470.html
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/woman-hospitalised-after-consuming-adulterated-health-product-touted-as-diabetes