The Therapeutic Goods Administration, an Australian regulatory body, last week warned against the use of Meizi Evolution Botanical Slimming, a diet product that TGA tested and found to contain undeclared sibutramine. TGA recommends that anyone using Meizi Evolution stop taking the capsules immediately and return unused portions to a pharmacy for safe disposal.
Despite being pulled off the market in places including the US, UK, EU, Mexico and Australia, sibutramine continues to find its way into the hands of consumers, often in products claiming to be “natural” or “botanical.” A report about the TGA warning notes that Meizi Evolution is not available for sale in Australia but that the agency found that consumers were buying it online. Indeed, LegitScript has been aware of dietary supplement websites that facilitate the sale of Meizitang products, and has identified Meizitang — and now Meizi Evolution — as “per se problematic” because of the findings that they contain sibutramine. We do not recommend that Internet platforms carry, or that consumers use, these products.
In something of a trend, young women post series of videos on YouTube to document their weight loss progress while taking Meizitang (or Botanical Slimming Soft Gel). The trouble is these Meizitang products might seem “natural” to the average consumer — because they are marketed as such — but ingesting sibutramine can lead to side effects ranging from nausea, depression and sleep disruption to increased blood pressure, strokes and cardiac arrhythmia. In a recent case in Ireland, the use of Meizitang resulted in a teenager having surgery to remove part of her colon after she developed ischaemic colitis.
We hope that the actions by TGA and the US Food and Drug Administration, which warned about weight-loss products containing active pharmaceutical ingredients several years ago, spread awareness of the dangers of Meizitang products.