Advisory - Health Canada advises consumers not to use weight loss products containing ephedrine and caffeine

OTTAWA, May 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Health Canada is advising consumers not to
use any combination of ephedrine and caffeine because of the risk of serious
and possibly fatal effects.

Two particular products pose potential health risks, WestPharm Hydro-Lean
capsules, and a combination of 4Ever Fit ephedrine and caffeine pills.

Canadians suffering from heart conditions, high blood pressure and
diabetes are among those particularly at risk.

WestPharm Hydro-Lean has not been assessed by Health Canada for safety,
effectiveness or quality and is not authorized for sale in Canada. It is,
however, distributed through the Internet and may have been brought into
Canada either by personal importation or other means. Health Canada is working
with the Canada Border Services Agency to prohibit further importation of this

The 4Ever Fit ephedrine and caffeine pills are packaged in separate
bottles, but are sold together in a Convenience Pack. Ephedrine and caffeine
are authorized in Canada as separate products, but they are not authorized to
be sold or taken in combination. 4Ever Fit Convenience Pack has been recalled
from retail stores by the Canadian distributor, 4Ever Fit, due to the risk of
serious and potentially fatal effects.

When used in combination with caffeine and other stimulants, ephedrine
has caused reported adverse events ranging from dizziness, tremors, headaches
and irregularities in heart rate to seizures, psychosis, heart attacks and
stroke. One report of an adverse reaction suspected to be related to the use
of Hydro-Lean has been reported to Health Canada. The symptoms in this case
included an elevated heart rate and general discomfort.

All individuals who have used WestPharm Hydro-Lean or the ephedrine and
caffeine tablets in the 4Ever Fit Convenience Pack, or any other products
containing ephedrine and stimulants such as caffeine, should stop consuming
them. Such products should not be used for weight loss, increased energy, body
building or any other purpose.

Consumers who believe they have experienced adverse effects from taking
these products should consult their health care practitioner.

Both ephedra and ephedrine are authorized by Health Canada for use only
as a nasal decongestant in over-the-counter cold products. All such authorized
products carry an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN) or Natural
Product Number (NPN) on the label and should be used only as directed, for
short periods of time. Currently, the maximum allowable dosage for ephedrine
is 8 mg in a single dose or 32 mg per day. The maximum allowable dosage for
ephedra is 400 mg in a single dose or 1,600 mg per day.

Consumers should avoid using unauthorized products that contain ephedra
or ephedrine in combination with caffeine or other stimulants because of the
health risk. As a source of ephedrine, the label on these products may list:
ma huang, Chinese ephedra, ma huang extract, ephedra, Ephedra Sinica, ephedra
extract, ephedra herb powder, Sida Cordifolia or epitonin. As a source of
caffeine or other stimulants, the label on these products may list: green tea,
guarana, yerba mate, cola nut and yohimbine.

To obtain further information about ephedra/ephedrine, please consult the
following document on the Health Canada website: Ephedra/ephedrine -
Frequently Asked Questions.

Health Canada stresses that ordering health products online without
professional medical advice and monitoring can pose a number of health risks.
Before taking any health products, consumers are urged to discuss the issue
with their health care practitioner.

To report finding WestPharm Hydro-Lean, the Combination Pack of 4Ever Fit
ephedrine and caffeine pills, or any other unauthorized products combining
ephedrine and a stimulant, such as caffeine, on the Canadian market, please
contact the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate at: 1-800-267-9675.

To report a suspected adverse reaction to WestPharm Hydro-Lean, the 4Ever
Fit Combination Pack of ephedrine and caffeine tablets or any other health
product, please contact the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program
(CADRMP) of Health Canada by one of the following methods:

Telephone: 1-866-234-2345
Fax: 1-866-678-6789

Marketed Health Products Directorate
Health Protection Building, Tunney's Pasture, AL 0701C
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Email: [email protected]

Public inquiries about issues raised in this advisory should be directed
to Health Canada at (613) 957-2991 or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.

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