FDA Warns Against Use of Bee Pollen Weight Loss Product

The FDA has issued a release warning consumers to immediately cease using Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen, a product marketed to aid in weight loss and body reshaping, as the product has been found to contain one or both of the potentially harmful active pharmaceutical ingredients sibutramine and phenolphthalein.

Sibutramine, which, according to the release, is known to cause a substantial increase in blood pressure and pulse rate, creating a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke, was removed from the market in 2010. Phenolphalein is not an active ingredient in any FDA-approved drugs in the U.S., as studies have shown that it presents a risk of cancer. The ingredients, which were not declared on the product’s label, were found in samples from various U.S. distributors, including those from packages marked “genuine” and “anti-counterfeit.”

“Products that contain hidden drugs pose a real danger to consumers,” said Acting Director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Carol Bennett in the release. “This is especially true when the products have names that mislead consumers into believing they are safe and natural.”

According to the release, adverse event reports made to the FDA include heart palpitations, increased heart rate, suicidal thoughts, chest pain, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, increased blood pressure and seizure. The FDA advises health care professionals and consumers to report adverse events related to the use of Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen, as well as any weight loss products to its MedWatch program.