Saturday, August 17, 2013

The skinny on slimming pills


GROWING TREND: Healthcare professionals are alarmed that more Malaysians are resorting to pills to beat the bulge * Slimming products containing sibutramine are still being consumed by Malaysians despite being banned * Side effects, including intestinal problems, could persist years after ceasing consumption * Other causes of weight gain, like cardiac failure and abdominal tumours, should be ruled out before taking pills
The trend of people using slimming products has triggered alarm bells among  healthcare professionals. practitioners. Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Datuk Nancy Ho said  the idea of slimming concept had been oversold and many consider it a prerequisite towards being beautiful.
Many slimming products, she said, contain sibutramine, an appetite suppressant that could cause central nervous system stimulation (CNS) effects, manifesting itself as  insomnia, raised heartbeat, nervousness, irritability, hyperactivity, aggressiveness and dry mouth.
“It has been banned and should not be used in any weight-loss product. It used to be a prescription-only medicine before the ban. Slimming products of this nature must be used under the strict super vision of a medical doctor. she said.
“In fact, body shape is often determined by genes. The important message is to live a healthy lifestyle to prevent obesity because it obesity is the underlying cause for many non- communicable diseases,” she said.
MPS has an ongoing MyWeight MyHealth programme to counsel members of  the public on weight management. “The public is urged to seek professional help. Many community pharmacists have been certified,” after training,” she said, noting that prevention was better than cure.
Sibutramine was previously approved as an for anti-obesity drug be fore it was banned by the Health  Ministry on Dec 23, 2010. However, despite the ban, there have been numerous reports of  consumers suffering side effects  from slimming products containing sibutramine.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr  N.K.S. Tharmaseelan said more people were getting into the craze to look slim was increasing and many were taking the easy way out by popping pills.
“Slimming pills, if not approved  by the Health Ministry, may pose a problem to one’s health even if  they are herbal in nature. “They should not be taken with out consulting a doctor.”  
He said obesity and being overweight were not necessarily caused by excessive weight alone, but could be because of cardiac failure, renal failure, abdominal tumors and hormonal problems associated with menstrual cycles.
Growing concerns over the widespread availability of illegal slimming products prompted the government to impose new measures to curb the import of such goods.
Last month, the New Straits Times had reported that the Custom Department, Health Ministry  and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission were hot on the trail of syndicates bring ing in illegal pharmaceuticals.
The Health Ministry was collaborating with the agencies to review and implement new inspection procedures for checking Malaysia-bound parcels, a move which could significantly prevent the illicit flow of the pharmaceuticals into the country.

No comments: