The FDA recently cautioned consumers not to purchase or use La Jiao Shou Shen, a product promoted as a weight loss supplement. A laboratory analysis conducted by the FDA confirmed the product contains the undeclared ingredients sibutramine and phenolphthalein.
Sibutramine is a controlled substance that was removed from the market in 2010 due to safety concerns. Sibutramine can "interact, in life-threatening ways, with other medications" taken by consumers. It can also significantly increase blood pressure or pulse rate and present a significant risk in patients with a history of cardiac problems or stroke.
Phenolphthalein is a chemical that poses a cancer risk. It is not included as an active ingredient in any drug approved in the United States.
The safety announcement is part of FDA's effort to raise public awareness "of a growing trend of dietary supplements or conventional foods with hidden drugs and chemicals."