THE Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has detected an undeclared potent substance in a 'dietary supplement' which is sold over the internet, after two persons here developed serious adverse reactions after taking it.
The two, a man and woman in their early 20s, suffered symptoms of psychosis including hearing voices, hallucinations, confusion, anxiety and raised heart rate. They were hospitalised but had been discharged.
HSA found the adulterant 'Sibutramine' in a product marketed as, and claiming to be 'Relacore'. The two patients said they had bought it over the Internet.
Sibutramine, an undeclared western drug ingredient, can cause severe adverse reactions, including symptoms of psychosis, hallucinations, confusion, anxiety, increases in blood pressure and heart rate. It is a prescription drug used as an appetite suppressant to combat obesity.
HSA said in a statement on Wednesday that it should only be used under proper medical supervision.vPatients with heart problems, in particular, should not take it.
HSA advises consumers who have been taking this particular product to stop taking it immediately and to discard it. If they experience any adverse reactions or feel unwell, they should consult their doctors immediately.
The product taken by the two patients is promoted and sold over the Internet as a 'dietary supplement' which contains a 'stress mitigating compound' for 'belly fat and stress control,' said HSA, adding that the packaging of the product does not match fully with that of the Relacore that is sold over some Internet sites.
HSA is trying to establish if the product taken by the two patients could be a counterfeit version of the product 'Relacore'.
Said Ms Chan Cheng Leng, Assistant Director, Pharmacovigilance at HSA: 'This case clearly shows that pills sold over the Internet are often from a variety of sources and many are dubious.'
Given the borderless nature of the Internet and the ease with which this product could be bought and sold in different countries around the world, HSA has alerted its international network of enforcement counterparts to be on a lookout for the adulterated product and where appropriate, to act against websites selling this product within their respective jurisdictions.
HSA advises consumers to buy from licensed sources such as registered clinics and approved pharmacies. When in doubt, they should consult a doctor or pharmacist prior to self-medication.
They can also refer to the HSA advisory guide at : http://www.hsa.gov.sg/online_purchase_guide.pdf