UK. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is alerting herbal interest groups and consumers about the presence of fenfluramine and nitrosofenfluramine in an unlicensed traditional Chinese medicine preparation, Shubao Slimming Capsules, supplied illegally as a slimming agent in the UK. Fenfluramine is an appetite suppressant and was banned globally in 1997 due to concerns about the drug's effect on the heart while nitrosofenfluramine is known to be toxic to the liver. Globally the illegal adulteration of slimming products with nitroso-fenfluramine and fenflur-amine has been associated with a large number of reports of liver toxicity. There was one report of liver failure in a patient receiving Shubao Slimming Capsules in the UK; the patient required a liver transplant. The MHRA has directed that the supply and sale of Shubao capsules should be stopped immediately and has requested cooperation from the herbal sector in minimizing the risks to consumers posed by the illegal inclusion of fenfluramine and nitroso-fenfluramine in these capsules.
Communication to Herbal Interest Groups from MHRA, 28 April 2004. Available from URL: http://medicines.mhra.gov.uk