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Prohibited diet medicine found in Chinese herbs

According to researchers they have discovered fenfluramine, the diet medicine pulled from the market five years ago because it was linked to heart valve problems, in Chinese herbal remedies being sold to help people lose weight. According to reports of this study, there has been serious side effects, such as pulmonary hypertension, among a handful of patients led a group from Southend Hospital on Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex to study whether the supplements these patients// had taken contained any suspicious ingredients.Initially, researchers suspected Ephedra or Ma Huang, widely used in the United States and elsewhere in the world for weight loss but also linked to adverse side effects.

Instead, researchers found fenfluramine, a diet pharmaceutical that was part of the popular weight loss cocktail called "Fen-phen." Fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were pulled from the market by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997 after numerous reports the off-label cocktail combo increased the risk of heart valve damage in the United States and also in the United Kingdom.

Researchers reported that high concentrations of fenfluramine were found in the Chinese supplements, researchers reported, and also in the patients' urine. The Medicines Control Agency, an investigative agency much in the United Kingdom similar to the FDA, is looking into where and when fenfluramine entered the supply chain.

Catherynn Conns, researcher and a biochemist, told that there are several changes needed to protect the public and also to protect reputable herbal practitioners themselves. Corns said there also is concern over the quality of the ingredients in some Chinese herbs. Some have been found to be adulterated with steroids and toxic heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) ... some of the pre-packaged pills imported from the Far East have not undergone rigorous quality control checks, and there is no certainty as to the actual contents.

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