Swissmedic identifies dangerous substances in slimming products claimed to be herbal


Swissmedic, Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, has recently analysed samples of seized imports of herbal slimming products. A total of 13 samples of 10 different products were investigated for synthetic active substances and heavy metals. Over half of them contained non-declared synthetic ingredients and are thus classified as potentially dangerous falsified medicines. In addition, and in Swissmedic's opinion, this constitutes deliberately confusing users of these supposedly natural slimming products.

Results of the analysis carried out in the Swissmedic laboratory:

Synthetic contents
Synthetic active substances were found in 8 of the 13 samples examined, In 3 of the samples, a combination of the active substances Sibutramin and Phenolphthalein was identified. In a further 3 samples, Sibutramin alone was contained and in one sample, Phenolphthalein alone was present. Caffeine was identified in one sample.
Sibutramin is a synthetic substance with a strong effect, and can only be obtained on prescription in Switzerland. One sample, containing 21.5 mg of the substance, represented 43% more of the substance than the recommended daily dose. When taking Sibutramin, patients must be made aware of numerous contraindications and safety precautions. If this is not the case, the risks to health are significant. For that reason, Sibutramin may only be taken when medically prescribed and under the supervision of a physician.
Phenolphthalein is a laxative rarely used today. It can also have various side effects and - like caffeine - is not suitable for achieving lasting weight loss.

A total of 5 samples contained neither synthetic active substances nor heavy metals. These products were either tea bags or in one case capsules that were not ordered via the Internet.

Heavy metal impurities and manufacturing shortcomings
Some samples were tested for contamination with the heavy metals lead, cadmium and mercury. One product, named "Reducing weight easily" exceeded the ceiling value for lead content to a massive extent (over 50 times the permitted maximum) and the ceiling value for mercury by 6 times. This sample revealed, in the same packaging, blisters with dark green capsules and blisters with yellow and pink capsules, which is unacceptable within controlled manufacturing.
Two samples of the same product (Li Da Daidaihua) consisted of the same capsules and packaging. The content of the capsules nevertheless varied: one sample revealed brown content in the capsules in which caffeine was identified, whereas the other capsules, containing white powder, contained Sibutramin.
Swissmedic therefore issues an urgent warning regarding the following slimming medicines originating from Asia (all in the form of capsules), since they contain non-declared synthetic active substances and some of them contain levels of heavy metals that are massively above the ceiling value (see right column).

Name of the slimming product         
Analysis results
Li Da Daidaihua Coffein
Li Da Daidaihua Sibutramin 21.5 mg
Reducing weight easily Sibutramin 9.7 mg, Phenolphtalein
Reducing weight easily Sibutramin 9.6 / 9.8 mg, Phenolphtalein, Schwermetalle: Pb 239 ppm, Hg 0.64 ppm
24" ince Sibutramin 4.5 mg
Zhen de shou fat loss capsule Phenolphthalein
Light Some Sibutramin 7.8 mg
Pearl White Slimming Sibutramin 9.3 mg, Phenolphthalein

These slimming products seized at Swiss borders were analysed by Swissmedic.

A particularly alarming product: capsules claiming to contain Chinese herbs in fact contain the active substance Sibutramin, available on prescription only, the laxative Phenolphtalein, as well as lead and mercury in quantities that are many times above the permitted limits.

International product lists
Swissmedic is more and more frequently receiving reports of falsified slimming products from other health authorities. The following list of slimming products containing non-declared Sibutramin, Phenolphthalein, Rimonabant or Phenytoin has been received from foreign regulatory authorities (USA, Canada, Singapore, France, Austria and Bulgaria) since the beginning of 2008. Although Swissmedic has not yet discovered these products on the Swiss market, it is strongly warning against their use.

2 Day Diet
3 Day Diet
3x Slimming Power
7 Day Herbal Slim
7 Diet Day/Night Formula
999 Fitness Essence
Best Life Fat Burning Capsules        
Extrim Plus
Fatloss Slimming
Hanguo shoushen yihao
Healthily Slim
Imelda Perfect Slim
Japan Lingzhi 24 Hours Diet
Miaozi Slim
Natural Lasmi and Slim 3 in 1
Perfect Slim
Proslim Plus
Royal Slimming Formula
Slim 3 in 1
Slim Express 360
Slim Pure
Venom Hyperdrive 3.0


Based on its latest analyses, Swissmedic once again issues an urgent warning regarding the ordering of medicines via the Internet since these can be dangerous for your health. Individuals may not import large quantities of medicines (i.e. more than one month's supply, for their own use). Further information on the risks of ordering medicines via the Internet and the legal provisions relating to the importing of medicine from abroad can be found in our information sheets, at: