UAE Health Ministry orders withdrawal of dietary supplements for weight loss

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has ordered the withdrawal of certain dietary supplements for weight loss and male sex enhancement from the market as they contain undeclared and unregistered drug ingredients that may pose serious health risks.

''These products, which were promoted for reducing weight and improving sexual stamina, contain undeclared and unregistered drug ingredients that may be harmful to health and well-being of patients suffering from cardiac disorders and diabetes or those taking products that contain nitrates,'' said Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Under-Secretary for Public Policy and Licensing at the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention and Chairman of the Higher Pharmaceutical Vigilance Committee.

The Health Ministry had sent circulars to health authorities, stakeholders and partners to remove these products from all outlets, stop their distribution and import, and identity their brands so as to understand their side effects that may lead to death, Al Amiri said.

He also appealed to the public not to get tempted by the misleading and unauthorised advertisements on social media about herbal supplements that could reduce weight and increase sex power.

Al Amiri revealed that the Ministry had received a notification from the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA, about Stiff Bull Herbal Coffee, which contains hidden drug ingredients.

The FDA is advising consumers not to purchase or use Stiff Bull Herbal Coffee, a product promoted for improving energy.

FDA laboratory analysis confirmed that the product contains desmethyl carbodenafil, which is structurally similar to sildenafil, but this undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs such as nitroglycerine and may lower one’s blood pressure to dangerous levels.

People suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart conditions often take nitrates.

The Ministry’s circulars also included an FDA notification about Zi Su Body Fat Health, a product promoted for weight loss, which consumers were advised not to purchase or use.

Analysis by FDA laboratory also confirmed that Zi Su Body Fat Health II contains both sibutramine and phenolphthalein.

Sibutramine is a controlled substance that poses a threat as it is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke.

Studies indicate that phenolphthalein presents cancer-causing risk.

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