Banned substance and potent laxatives found in 2 slimming products being sold online: HSA

Slimming products “Nuvitra” and BeColi” were found to contain banned substance sibutramine and potent laxatives.
Health Sciences Authority

Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued an advisory to warn members of the public against buying and consuming two particular slimming products being sold online.

In a statement on Thursday (May 31), HSA said slimming products “Nuvitra” and “BeColi” were shown to pose serious health risks after being tested positive for sibutramine – a banned substance – and potent laxatives.

Both products were advertised online by NKD Singapore as supplements for slimming, with accompanying claims that weight loss could be achieved within a short period of time.

Nuvitra, marketed as “Nuvitra King Diet”, was also sold on various local online platforms by other merchants.

NKD Singapore has since been directed by the authority to cease all sales of the products and administrators of online sales platforms were told to remove relevant web listings.

The company is currently assisting HSA in its investigations.

According to the statement, sibutramine was previously available as a weight loss drug obtained exclusively via prescription but has been withdrawn from Singapore since 2010 in light of increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Other adverse effects include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.

HSA had in the past received adverse effect reports concerning consumers experiencing hallucinations or hearing voices, palpitations and breathlessness after taking in slimming products containing the substance.

Potent laxatives were found in Nuvitra and BeColi, with the former containing sennosides while the latter had sennosides and bisacodyl.

Sennosides and bisacodyl are used for the relief of constipation but come with associated adverse effects like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, HSA said.

Prolonged use could result in watery diarrhea which consequently leads to fluid and electrolyte abnormalities and colonic atony, which is the lack of muscle strength in the large intestine that may cause chronic constipation.

Consumers have been advised to stop consumption of the products immediately and consult a doctor should they feel unwell.

They are also told to be wary of health products that promise quick and miraculous weight loss as such products could potentially contain prescription medicines meant to be taken under medical supervision, or undeclared potent or banned ingredients which are harmful.

The authority added that consumers should not trust product reviews due to the inability to verify the validity of such testimonials. Caution should be exercised when buying health products online as well.

“Anyone can be a seller on these e-commerce platforms. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made,” said HSA.

“They could potentially be counterfeits or adulterated with undeclared potent or banned ingredients which can seriously harm your health.”

HSA has issued an order to sellers and suppliers to stop selling Nuvitra and BeColi immediately as they are deemed illegal products.

Individuals who supply illegal health products are liable to prosecution and may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to S$100,000 ($7,481) if convicted.