SYOSSET, NY – B-Lipo capsules, a natural herbal supplement that claims to help people shed weight, is being voluntarily recalled by its manufacturer over a questionable ingredient. The recall highlights that lax regulation of such products can pose health risks.
“Again we have another case of a “natural” over the counter medication being recalled for containing a synthetic drug ingredient that was not clearly expressed on the label,” said Maria Pena, MD, director of the Center for Weight Management at Syosset Hospital.
The FDA informed Bethel Nutritional Consulting, Inc., maker of B-Lipo, that a sample of its product was tested and found to contain Lorcaserin, a controlled substance marketed as Belviq. The drug is FDA approved for the treatment of obesity.
According to the FDA’s website, taking Lorcaserin can cause difficulty thinking, hallucinations and changes in blood sugar and heart rate.
It can also cause damage to the heart valve, and cause high levels of serotonin to build up in the body, particularly if Lipo-B is taken with other medications that work similarly. Excessive levels of serotonin can cause symptoms that range from mild (shivering and diarrhea) to severe (muscle stiffness, fever, and seizures).
When taking Lorcaserin as prescribed by a physician for weight loss, the drug is pretty safe, said Dr. Pena, because the FDA is regulating it in order to ensure purity, consistency in dosage and efficacy. She added that a physician would also be aware of any possible interactions that a newly prescribed medication would have with other medications.
“However, a ‘natural supplement’ usually has no form of regulation in the way it’s manufactured and no significant research substantiating its efficacy,” said Dr. Pena.
The recalled capsules are packaged in white plastic bottles containing 30 Capsules per bottle, and labeled with Lot # 20213 expiration date 12/22/2016, and bar code 160126 417509.
No illnesses or injuries have been reported to the company to date in connection with this product.