The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) of Singapore has advised the public to stop consuming a weight loss product called Nutriline Bluvelle on 14 June.

The product was marketed as a health supplement for slimming and claims that it contains natural plant ingredients that are "safe and free of side effects" but was found to contain a banned substance known as sibutramine, instead.

Tests were carried out after a female in her 20s reported experiencing "rapid heartbeats, anxiety, a drastic decrease in appetite, dizziness and lethargy" after consumption of the product.

"Such symptoms are common adverse reactions associated with the use of the banned substance, sibutramine," the HSA said in a press release.

Product available on multiple online platforms

The lady had bought the product from an online shop based in Malaysia, but a quick investigation revealed that it was also sold on several other local and overseas online platforms.

The authority is further investigating the local sale of this product and has also advised merchants to stop selling the product immediately.

HSA also said that it has received past reports of consumers experiencing hallucinations or hearing voices, palpitations and breathlessness after consuming slimming products bought online, cautioning members of the public to be alert when buying such products.

Many of the reported products were tested to contain sibutramine, even though they were marketed to contain natural ingredients.

"The level of sibutramine found in some of these products might result in a consumer unwittingly taking as high as up to eight times the maximum daily dosage of the prescribed amount of sibutramine, when it was previously available as a prescription-only drug. This would pose a very serious health hazard to consumers," it said.

HSA warns against products promising quick and miraculous weight loss

Sibutramine was previously made available as a prescription for weight loss but has been withdrawn from Singapore since 2010 due to an associated increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Other serious effects include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.

HSA advised members of the public to stop taking Nutriline Bluvelle immediately and to consult doctors if unwell or are concerned about their health.

It also warned against health products that promised quick and miraculous weight loss as most would contain prescription medicines, undeclared potent or banned ingredients despite being marketed as "all-natural" products.

Anyone found guilty of supplying illegal health products can be jailed for up to three years and/or fined up to SGD100,000. MIMS

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