A woman in Singapore suffered heart failure and now lives with an implant after taking a weight loss product bought through Instagram

BB Body (left) and Bello Smaze were found to contain sibutramine which causes abnormally fast heart palpitations.
Health Sciences Authority

Four weight loss and health products have been red flagged by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) after people were put into critical condition post-consumption – with one even having suffered from a severe heart failure.

In an advisory released on Monday (June 3), the HSA warned members of the public against purchasing and consuming the four products which have caused “serious adverse reactions” in consumers, namely – BB Body, Bello Smaze, Choco Fit and Seahorse Chop Du Zhong Ba Ji Wan.

According to the advisory, the products were tested positive for undeclared potent medicinal ingredients, including a banned substance for weight loss and a potent steroid.

BB Body, Bello Smaze and Choco Fit – which were advertised as weight loss products – were found to contain sibutramine which causes abnormally fast heart palpitations, said the authority.

Sibutramine was formerly a prescription drug but was banned by the HSA in 2010 due to heightened risk of heart attacks, strokes and other serious adverse effects.

In its statement, the authority said a woman in her 50s had purchased BB Body from a Malaysia-based online seller who promoted it on Instagram. She developed extremely fast heart rate after consuming the product for three months which eventually led to her losing consciousness and requiring resuscitation.

The HSA added that the consumer is now suffering from severe heart failure and needs a defibrillator implant to regulate her heart rhythms. She is also on long-term heart failure medication.

Another woman in her 20s developed palpitations and insomnia that culminated in suicidal thoughts after taking Bello Smaze over four days. The authority said she bought the product directly from a local seller as recommended by a friend, who suffered heart palpitations and insomnia as well.

A woman in her 30s also experienced palpitations after consuming Choco Fit for two days.

A woman in her 30s suffered heart palpitations after taking Choco Fit for only two days.
Health Sciences Authority

The HSA noted that the three products were marketed on e-commerce and social media platforms – including Instagram and Facebook – as having “no side effects” or allowing fast weight loss within days.

Administrators of local online platforms have since been ordered to remove the affected product listings, it said.

The fourth product, Seahorse Chop Du Zhong Ba Ji Wan, had reportedly caused a man in his 40s to be inflicted with Cushing’s syndrome, according to the HSA.

The man had purchased the product from a medicinal hall in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and took it for more than two months to relieve his arthritis. However, it caused him to suffer characteristic symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome such as an abnormally plump “moon” face, thin limbs, thinning skin and easy bruising.

The authority said the effects were the result of dexamethasone which is a potent steroid. Chlorpheniramine – an antihistamine for allergic reactions – was also found in the product.

Dexamethasone found in Seahorse Chop Du Zhong Ba Ji Wan caused a man in his 40s to suffer from Cushing’s syndrome.
Health Sciences Authority

Apart from the fraudulently added ingredients, the HSA noted that another telltale sign which highlighted the dubious nature of the product was in the packaging.

Some blister strips found in a single box actually carried a different name – “100% Natural Pure herbal * Acti Fast”. Further tests revealed that the product contained frusemide, a potent medicine that removes excess water in the body.

“These findings are characteristic of illegal products which are manufactured without any quality control,” said the HSA.

Two different blister strip packaging were found in a single box of Seahorse Chop Du Zhong Ba Ji Wan.
Health Sciences Authority

The authority advises consumers to cease consumption of the products immediately and to seek medical help if they feel unwell or are concerned about their health.

It also warns consumers to be wary of health products that promise “quick and miraculous effects, or carry exaggerated claims”.

Consumers should avoid buying such products from unfamiliar sources overseas and exercise caution when purchasing them online.

Sellers and suppliers of the listed products must stop selling them with immediate effect. Non-compliance would lead to prosecution and if convicted, imprisonment for up to three years, with a possible maximum fine of S$100,000 (US$72,900), the HSA said.

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