Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Consumers Alerted to Risks Presented by Counterfeit Alli

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Consumers Alerted to Risks Presented by Counterfeit Alli

Article excerpt

Counterfeit versions of Alli, the over-the-counter formulation of the lipase inhibitor orlistat, contain sibutramine, another weight loss agent, and could be "potentially harmful" for consumers, the Food and Drug Administration has announced.

A statement on the agency's Med-Watch site said orlistat manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had identified counterfeit versions of Alli 60-mg capsules in the 120-count refill kit that do not contain orlistat. The counterfeits contain sibutramine, a controlled substance that is marketed as Meridia by Abbott Laboratories. Sibutramine's therapeutic effects result from norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine reuptake inhibition, according to the label.

"Sibutramine is a drug that should not be used in certain patient populations or without physician oversight," and it can interact with other drugs, the FDA statement noted.

Suspected reports of counterfeit Alli products were first made in December 2009. GSK has determined that the counterfeit products have been sold over the Internet and there is no evidence the counterfeit product has been sold through retail stores or other channels.

The differences between the counterfeit and the real products include the lot code, packaging, and expiration date: The counterfeit product does not have a "Lot" code on the outer cardboard packaging and the plastic bottle has a slightly taller and wider cap, with "coarser ribbing" than the authentic product. …

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