These products are being offered for sale on the internet and in various social media as a herbal tea/herbal capsules to bring about weight loss. A female Swiss consumer has suffered severe side effects after using the products.
Analysis of various batches in the Swissmedic laboratory revealed that – contrary to the declaration on the packaging – these are not purely herbal teas.
Rather, the teabags contained a white powder and a number of banned, undeclared synthetic pharmaceutical substances. In addition to sibutramine, some batches were also found to contain lidocaine and sildenafil. Authorisation of medicinal products containing sibutramine was suspended in March 2010 owing to the risk of severe side effects. If several teabags are consumed on the same day, the lidocaine and sildenafil may produce adverse effects ranging in severity up to cardiovascular and respiratory problems as well as convulsions.
Swissmedic expressly cautions the public against buying any medicinal products or so-called nutritional supplements with health claims outside of the legal sales channels (pharmacies, drugstores, etc.). In particular, it warns against obtaining medicinal products and medical devices from unknown sources on the internet or via social networks.