The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to immediately stop using weight loss supplement Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen, after discovering that the product contains at least one potentially harmful active pharmaceutical ingredient that is not listed its label. Ingredients in question (found in products claiming to be “genuine” and “anti-counterfeit’) are phenolphthalein and sibutrame. Both are known to cause increased heart rates, palpitations, suicidal thoughts, chest pain, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, increased blood pressure and seizure.
Phenolphthalein is a chemical that has not been approved in the US. According to researchers it causes a risk of cancer. In addition, the federal government removed sibutramine from the marketplace in October 2010 after finding that it can pose a serious threat to patients with histories of congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and stroke.
“Products that contain hidden drugs pose a real danger to consumers," said Carol Bennett, acting director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This is especially true when the products have names that mislead consumers into believing they are safe and natural.”
Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen is manufactured by Guangzhou Zi Xiu Tang Biotechnology Co., Ltd. in Guangdong Province, China. It is offered for sale on the Internet, and it can be found in various retail stores, spas and fitness centers. In addition, licensed health care professionals have promoted the product.
Consumers and health care professionals are advised to report any adverse reactions related to Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen or other weight loss products to the FDA’s MedWatch program by completing and submitting the report online at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm; or downloading the form, completing it and then faxing it to 1-800-FDA-0178.