On May 1, 2009, Iovate Health Sciences was urged to recall Hydroxycut brand diet supplements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had received 23 reports of liver damage and one death linked to Hydroxycut products at the time the recall was issued.
According to the FDA, consumers should stop using the products immediately and return them to the place of purchase. If someone experiences side effects from the weight loss pills they should be sure to notify a health professional immediately. The list of 14 Hydroxycut products recalled includes drink packets, weight loss pills, and ready to drink products.
In December 2008, The FDA released a list of 42 weight loss supplements that contained undisclosed ingredients along with others that contained prescription drugs in amounts greater than recommended maximum doses. Since then, the list has grown to include over 72 products that the FDA believes are unsafe. Many of these products are marketed as natural or herbal supplements and are not required to meet the stringent manufacturing and testing guidelines required for prescription medications.
Fueled mainly by the promise of effortless weight loss, sales of over the counter weight loss pills reached $1.67 billion in 2007 and Hydroxycut was the leading product in this market.
People desperate to lose weight may be tempted to try unregulated supplements that promise rapid weight loss or fat burning formulas. However, as the FDA takes a closer look at the weight loss supplement market, we can expect that many more of these products will be recalled or removed from the market completely. At this stage it is prudent to expect that most of these products are either ineffective or unsafe until proven otherwise.
Even products that are marketed as “all natural” have the potential to be harmful. Protect yourself by not using supplements unless your physician or dietitian suggests them and then only in the recommended doses. Remember that regardless of the method used to achieve weight loss, long-term results require lifestyle change which, no matter what the label says, will never come in a capsule.