Pai You Guo: Women Still Using Diet Drug, Despite FDA Ban

09/21/2011 03:50 pm ET | Updated Nov 21, 2011

The FDA may have banned over-the-counter weight-loss drug Pai You Guo in 2009, but that hasn't stopped women from using the product.

In fact, many haven't even heard about the recall and are still purchasing it in the U.S, says a Harvard study.

The researchers surveyed 550 Brazilian women living in the greater Boston area, noting that diet products are popular among this community. Some 23 percent of the women said they had used Pai You Guo and 61 percent purchased the dietary supplement after the FDA recall, reports the Wall Street Journal.

According to the FDA, the Chinese drug was banned for two harmful ingredients: sibutramine, which can raise your pulse and heart rate, and phenolphthalein, an ingredient deemed a potential carcinogen.

But these women aren't just buying it from shady websites. The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, shows just 9 percent reported purchasing it online, while 66 percent got the Chinese supplement from an acquaintance in the U.S. Some 30 percent got it from a U.S.-based store, making it particularly difficult to halt its use, notes The Atlantic.

According to Citizen Report, the FDA is still trying to get the word out and has introduced surveillance programs to screen international shipments for traces of the sibutramine.

Next time you see a diet supplement promising the world, you might want to check the ingredients and the FDA website.


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