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HSA updates on products found overseas that contain potent ingredients (February 2023)

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) would like to update the public on products that have been found and reported by overseas regulators in February 2023 to contain potent ingredients which are not allowed in these products and may cause side effects. This information is provided to increase awareness on safety issues of such products found overseas, which may impact the local population. Please refer to Annex A and Annex B for the list of products and the possible side effects of the potent ingredients. Please refer to the pdf document for images of the products.

 

HSA’s Advisory

2          Members of the public are advised to:

  • Consult a doctor if you have consumed any of the products and are feeling unwell.
  • Avoid buying any of the products when abroad.
  • Exercise caution when purchasing health products online or from sources (either local or overseas) which you may not be familiar with, even if well-meaning friends or relatives have recommended them. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They may be illegal, counterfeit or substandard, and may contain potent ingredients which can harm your health. If buying health products online, we encourage you to buy them from websites with an established retail presence in Singapore.
  • Be wary of products that promise quick and miraculous results or carry exaggerated claims like “100% safe”, “no side effects” or “scientifically proven”. Consumers should also be cautious of products that produce unexpected quick recovery of medical conditions.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need help for the management of your acute and chronic medical symptoms and conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, eczema).

3          Additionally, members of the public are encouraged to visit https://www.hsa.gov.sg/consumer-safety/ to learn more about the dangers of buying health products from dubious sources.

4          Members of the public who come across the sale and supply of these products in Singapore may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866 3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

Annex A

List of Products

Note: There may be different versions or variants of the products listed below. You are advised to consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure of any health product you intend to use, or if you need help for your acute and chronic medical symptoms and conditions

Name of product

Potent ingredient(s)

Source (Regulatory Agency)

Alfia Weight Loss Capsules

Sibutramine

United States Food and Drug Administration

Asia Shwe Kyel – Drug for Arthritis

Paracetamol

Myanmar Ministry of Health

Diep Bao Cream

Lead

United States Food and Drug Administration

Flashhskinzz Treatment Cream

Mercury

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

Goree Day and Night Beauty Cream

Mercury

Hong Kong Department of Health

Karisma Turmeric Booster Cream

Mercury

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

Karisma Turmeric Booster Cream (Sparkle Skin)

Mercury

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

Kobayashi Eyebon Eye Wash, Cool format

Aminocaproic acid

Health Canada

MANNERS Energy Boost

Tadalafil (PDE-5-inhibitor)

United States Food and Drug Administration

Paragon Alternative Medical Clinic
Amore Exotic Herbal Formula

Yohimbe

Health Canada

PrimeZen Black 6000

Sildenafil and Tadalafil 

(PDE-5-inhibitors)

United States Food and Drug Administration

 

Annex B

The possible side effects of the potent ingredients

Aminocaproic acid

Aminocaproic acid is a medicine used to treat certain bleeding disorders. Inappropriate use of aminocaproic acid without medical supervision may result in allergic and hypersensitivity reactions. Anaphylaxis has been reported with aminocaproic acid therapy. Blood clotting and blood coagulation disorder have also been reported with the use of aminocaproic acid.

 

Lead

Lead is a toxic substance and poisoning can occur when it builds up in the body, often over months or years. It can cause long-term harm including kidney damage and increased risk of high blood pressure.

 

Mercury

Mercury is a toxic substance and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products. Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching. Chronic exposure to very high levels of mercury in cosmetic products may also cause toxic effects to the kidneys, digestive and nervous system, as it can be absorbed through the skin. This could lead to organ damage.

 

Paracetamol

Paracetamol is used for relieving pain, headache and fever. Products which contain paracetamol but do not have this declared on the label pose a danger to consumers as accidental overdose can result in liver damage.

 

Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors

This class of medicine includes carbodenafil, sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and their derivatives. These medicines can cause serious side effects such as strokes, heart attacks, decreased or loss of vision and hearing and priapism (painful and exceedingly long erections). If priapism is not treated immediately, it may lead to permanent impotence. PDE-5 inhibitors are also not suitable for patients with medical conditions such as certain heart-related problems or who are on heart medications such as nitrates. Deaths of patients found to be using Sildenafil while on nitrates have been reported overseas.

 

Sibutramine

Sibutramine, previously a prescription weight loss medicine used in the treatment of obesity, has been disallowed for sale in Singapore since 2010 due to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The use of sibutramine has been associated with serious side effects, including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings

 

Yohimbe

Yohimbe is a bark extract from which a potent medicinal ingredient, Yohimbine, is derived. Side effects associated with yohimbe or yohimbine include insomnia, anxiety, palpitations (sensation of heart pounding, racing or skipped beats), sweating and blurred vision. Overdosage can cause low blood pressure, rapid heartbeats, seizures, paralysis and coma. Deaths from overdose have also been reported.

Download PDF: HSA Foreign Alert_2023_Feb493 KB

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