HCG Diet Products Illegal, says FDA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers to stay away from "homeopathic" human chorionic gonadotropin HCG weight-loss products. They are sold in the form of oral drops, pellets and sprays and can be found online and in some retail stores.
FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued seven letters to companies warning them that they are selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by FDA, and that make unsupported claims. "There is no substantial evidence HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from the recommended caloric restriction," said Elizabeth Miller, acting director of the FDA's fraud unit for Over-the-Counter products.
The seven companies that received the warning letters, in addition to HCG Diet Direct, include Nutri Fusion Systems, Natural Medical Supply (doing business as HCG Complete Diet), HCG Platinum, Theoriginalhcgdrops.com, and HCG-miracleweightloss.com.
Earlier this year, the FDA received a report of a pulmonary embolism occurring in a patient on the HCG diet. According to Christopher Kelly, a spokesman for the FDA, the hormone, which is injected daily as part of an extremely low calorie diet, carries risks of blood clots, depression, headaches and breast tenderness or enlargement.
HCG is a naturally occurring pregnancy hormone. It has been made medically available in an injection format by prescription, for treatment of infertility, and off-label for weight loss, and has become popular as part of the HCG diet. The HCG diet requires medical supervision and can cost upwards of $1,000 a month for the hormone and the needles required for self administration.
Recently, 'homeopathic" forms of HCG have begun appearing for sale on the Internet and various health food stores in lozenge and spray format, prompting the FDA to issue a warning in January 2011 that these products are fraudulent and illegal if they claim to have benefit in weight-loss.
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