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Warning as online diet pills found to contain banned drugs causing serious harm

Watchdog Which? has found dozens of supplements for sale containing drugs which should only be taken on doctors’ orders including two herbal extracts, yohimbine – banned in the UK – and synephrine

You could be poisoning yourself (stock image)

Diet pills being sold online contain banned substances which can can seriously harm your health, a probe found.

Watchdog Which? found dozens of supplements for sale containing drugs which should only be taken on doctors’ orders.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says two herbal extracts, yohimbine – banned in the UK – and synephrine, have “considerable potential to cause harm if used without medical supervision”.

Side-effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, and high doses can cause strokes, heart attacks and kidney damage.

Investigators were able to buy supplements with the ingredients from online marketplaces eBay, Wish and AliExpress. Prices range from £2.39 to over £80, from countries like the US, India, Poland and Ukraine.

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Yohimbine is extracted from a tree found in western Africa and is used as a male aphrodisiac. It is only available in the UK on prescription.

Synephrine, derived from bitter orange extract and used to aid sports performance, is deemed a ‘prescription only’ by the MHRA.

NHS consultant and toxologist Dr James Coulson warned both are dangerous and can also cause agitation, aggression and nausea. He said: “Some of the most effective poisons occur naturally.”







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The MHRA is investigating the findings. All websites have axed the supplements from listings but Which? wants a crackdown on those failing to properly monitor potentially dangerous products.

Sue Davies, of Which?, said: “The limited regulation of these sites is not working.” Ebay, AliExpress and Wish all vowed to take action against such listings.



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