The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) also found another banned pharma ingredient used as an oral laxative, phenolphthalein in the “100% herbal” products.
“Analysis undertaken by the TGA Laboratories in Australia has confirmed the presence of therapeutic quantities of sibutramine in these capsules in the plastic bottle packs,” TGA said.
“Consumers are advised that sibutramine was a prescription-only medicine supplied in Australia until it was withdrawn in October 2010 due to safety concerns, particularly in patients with history of cardiovascular disease.”
It added: “St Nirvana herbal slimming capsuleshave not been assessed by the TGA for quality, safety or efficacy as required under Australian legislation, and the place of manufacture is not approved by the TGA. In Australia, commercial supply of St Nirvana herbal slimming capsules is illegal.”
The TGA said any consumers that may have purchased the supplements on the internet or elsewhere should, “cease using them and discard any remaining product”.
The agency warned: “Consumers are again advised to exercise extreme caution about purchasing medicines from unknown overseas internet sites. Products purchased in this way may not meet the same standards of quality, safety and efficacy as those approved by the TGA for supply in Australia, and may contain undisclosed and potentially harmful ingredients.”
It issued a similar warning about another “100% herbal” product called Pink Lady for Women that was found to contain tadalafil, an ingredient used to treat male erectile dysfunction and which is approved for pharma use by Eli Lilly Australia’s Cialis product.
“Consumers are advised that tadalafil is a prescription-only medicine in Australia, and may be harmful if taken without the supervision of a medical professional, particularly in patients with history of cardiovascular disease,” the TGA said.