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Consumer Experienced Palpitations and Mood Swings After Taking 'Bobba Fitz' - HSA Tested Product to Contain Banned Substance Sibutramine

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or consume ‘Bobba Fitz’ and ‘Bobba Toxx’, which are marketed as weight loss products. ‘Bobba Fitz’ is labelled to contain natural ingredients such as whey protein, cocoa powder and Garcinia Cambogia (a fruit-derived ingredient), but HSA tested that it contained the banned substance sibutramine which can cause serious adverse effects. ‘Bobba Fitz’ is often sold in a set with another product, ‘Bobba Toxx’, which was tested by HSA to contain a laxative (sennosides) at about 4 times the usual dose. Both products are packaged in boxes of 10 powder sachets.

2        The products were sold on local e-commerce and social media platforms. HSA had worked with various platform administrators including Shopee, Lazada, Facebook and Instagram to promptly remove the affected listings and issue warnings to the respective sellers. Please refer to Annex A of the pdf version for photos of the products analysed by HSA.

3        A woman experienced palpitations and mood swings after consuming ‘Bobba Fitz’ and ‘Bobba Toxx’. She has since stopped taking both products and the adverse effects have subsided. If she had continued to consume them, the adverse effects would likely have worsened.

4        Sibutramine has been banned since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attack and strokes. It was previously a prescription-only weight loss medicine in Singapore. Other serious adverse effects reported by consumers who took products adulterated with sibutramine include insomnia, hallucinations and hearing voices. In 2019, a consumer experienced extremely fast heart rate and became unconscious. She was resuscitated and suffered debilitating consequences requiring implantation with a defibrillator (a medical device to help her heart to function).

5        Sennoside is a laxative that is used for the relief of constipation. When consumed at high levels, it can cause adverse effects such as cramping, diarrhoea and excessive loss of water and essential minerals. Prolonged use may cause chronic constipation, fluid and electrolyte abnormalities, bloating and abdominal pain.

Advisory to consumers

6        Consumers are advised to:

  • Stop taking ‘Bobba Fitz’ and ‘Bobba Toxx’ immediately and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health.
  • Be wary of products that carry exaggerated claims of fast weight loss without the need for exercise or diet control, or that deliver unexpectedly quick effects. They can contain potent ingredients that can seriously harm your health. Do not trust online product reviews, as these testimonials usually cannot be verified.
  • There is no quick and easy way to lose weight. Weight control should be achieved through a combination of balanced diet and appropriate exercise. If you need help managing your weight, please consult your doctor, dietitian or a healthcare professional.

Advisory to sellers and suppliers

7        All sellers and suppliers must stop selling these products immediately. HSA will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions against anyone who sells and supplies products found to be adulterated with banned substances or potent ingredients. Sellers and suppliers are liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to 2 years and/or fined up to $10,000.

8        Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of this illegal product may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866-3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE
1 MARCH 2021

Download pdf version here 963 KB

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Health supplements

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