Diet drug poses health risks


Counterfeit capsules of the diet drug ALLI that are sold online can pose a serious health risk to some users, a research director from the Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

The FDA warned consumers earlier this week that fake versions of the over-the-counter drug are being sold, mainly on online auction sites.

Testing shows the counterfeit pills contain excessive amounts of sibutramine, a prescription drug and controlled substance that can place people with cardiovascular disease at risk for higher blood pressure, heart attack or stroke said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.  The fake pills contain at least twice as much sibutramine as would normally be recommended she said.

According to Alli which is made by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, consumers should watch for these signs in determining whether the product they are buying is fake: The counterfeit capsule is slightly larger, and it's content is powdery; the genuine capsule is shaped more like a pellet.

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