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

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) would like to update the public on products that have been found and reported by overseas regulators in January 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)

Adam's Secret Extra Strength Amazing Black

Tadalafil (PDE-5 inhibitor)

United States Food and Drug Administration

Adam’s Secret Extra Strength Purple

Sildenafil and Tadalafil

(PDE-5 inhibitors)

United States Food and Drug Administration

Adam’s Secret Extra Strength Blue

Tadalafil (PDE-5 inhibitor)

United States Food and Drug Administration

Adam’s Secret Extra Strength 2000

Sildenafil and Tadalafil

(PDE-5 inhibitors)

United States Food and Drug Administration

Adam’s Secret Extra Strength 3000 Platinum

Tadalafil (PDE-5 inhibitor)

United States Food and Drug Administration

Beneks’ Fashion Fair Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

Beneks’ Hot Movate Gel

Betamethasone (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

Clearbact Cream

Betamethasone (Corticosteroid) and Neomycin

Health Canada

Dr. Reade Slim Sense

Lorcaserin

United States Food and Drug Administration

H20 Jours Naturel Papaya Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

H20 Jours Naturel Pasteque Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

Janet Papaya Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

Kojic Clear Fast Action Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

L'abidjanaise Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

La Bamakoise

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

P.Y. Facial Skin Cream

Betamethasone (Corticosteroid) and Mercury

Thailand Food and Drug Administration

SANGTER Energy Supplement

Sildenafil (PDE-5 inhibitor)

United States Food and Drug Administration

Tretinoin Cream Anti-Acne Anti-Wrinkle Youth Renewal Night Cream

Tretinoin

Health Canada

Visible Difference Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid)

Health Canada

VixaSkineal Cream

Clobetasol (Corticosteroid), Ketoconazole and Neomycin

Health Canada

 

Annex B

The possible side effects of the potent ingredients

Corticosteroids

Betamethasone 17-Valerate, Clobetasol propionate and dexamethasone are potent steroids that are usually prescribed for inflammatory conditions and should only be used under strict medical supervision. Long-term unsupervised use of steroids (including topical use where the steroid can be absorbed into the body) can cause increased blood glucose levels (which may lead to diabetes), high blood pressure, cataracts, muscular and bone disorders, an increased risk of infections and Cushing’s syndrome (a round face or ‘moon face’ appearance and upper body obesity with thin limbs). Discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, especially when the product has been taken for more than a few weeks.

 

Ketoconazole

Ketoconazole is a medicine used to treat fungal infections. The possible adverse effects associated with the inappropriate use of creams containing ketoconazole may include skin irritation, itching of the skin, skin rash and impetigo (skin infection).

 

Lorcaserin

Lorcaserin is a prescription medicine that was discontinued in the United States in 2020 due to an increased risk of cancer detected in the users. Lorcaserin can also cause cardiovascular side effects such as decreased heart rate and heart valve disorder. At high doses, users can develop psychiatric dependences on the drug.

 

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.

 

Neomycin

Neomycin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. It is a prescription medicine and should be used under medical supervision. Neomycin can potentially cause serious side effects including hearing problems or ringing in the ears, loss of balance or coordination, seizures or convulsions, vomiting, watery or bloody diarrhoea, severe stomach cramps and nausea.

 

Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors

This class of medicine includes sildenafil and tadalafil. 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.

 

Tretinoin

Tretinoin is a potent ingredient used in prescription medicines for the treatment of skin conditions and should be used under medical supervision. The ingredient is prohibited in skincare cosmetic products. Inappropriate use of tretinoin could lead to side effects such as redness and peeling of skin.

Download PDF: HSA Foreign Alert_2023_Jan591 KB

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Chinese Proprietary Medicines, Cosmetic products, Health supplements, Traditional medicines
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