Unregistered Drug Analogue Found In A Slimming Product

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The Department of Health urged members of the public not to consume a slimming product known as "Soloslim" given out by a doctor who operated a clinic in a slimming centre at Central as the product was found to contain an undeclared drug analogue.

The department made the appeal after investigating into a suspected poisoning case reported by the Hospital Authority concerning a 37-year-old woman who had history of taking the product.

Investigation revealed that the patient had taken the concerned slimming product given out by Dr Cheung Ying-kit in Sau San Tong Healthy Trim Institute at Central for more than a year.

The woman developed symptoms of psychosis for a few months before admission to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on May 15. Her condition gradually improved and was discharged on May 26.

Laboratory tests conducted by the hospital on the product's samples showed the presence of N-bisdesmethyl-sibutramine, which is an analogue of sibutramine.

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DH officers conducted an operation at the slimming centre this afternoon, resulting in the seizure of eight bottles of the slimming product.

A spokesman for the department said sibutramine was a western medicine used as appetite suppressant for slimming. Its side effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, symptoms of psychosis, and possibly convulsion. People with heart problems should not take it.

Product containing sibutramine must be registered before it can be sold in Hong Kong. It is classified as prescription only medicine and can only be sold on a doctor's prescription and dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist.

The spokesman said sibutramine analogues, being chemically similar to sibutramine, can be expected to have the same side effects of sibutramine. He appealed to members of the public who have been using the above product for any period of time to stop using it immediately. They should consult their doctors for medical advice if they feel unwell.

DH will set up a hotline at 2125-1133 for public enquiries. Concerned members of the public can call the hotline between 9am and 5pm from Mondays to Fridays and between 9am and 1pm on Saturdays from tomorrow (June 12) onwards.

The spokesman reiterated that a balanced diet and exercise are crucial factors in keeping fit and healthy. Members of the public who want to reduce weight are advised to consult their doctors first.

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