FDA Announces Safety Recall of Diet Aid Hydroxycut Following Cases of Liver Damage and Death

By May 7, 2009 Dangerous Drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers that they should immediately stop using an over-the-counter diet aid called Hydroxycut, the Associated Press reported May 1. The dietary supplement is associated with serious liver problems, the article said, including the death of a teenaged boy. Its maker, Iovate Health Sciences, has agreed to recall all 14 Hydroxycut products. Consumers who have any of those products should return them to the store where they were purchased, an FDA press release said, and report any negative effects of using the supplement to their doctors and the FDA. More information from Iovate can be found at HydroxycutInformation.com.
Hydroxycut is one of the most popular weight-loss supplements on the market, selling 9 million packages last year according to the Associated Press. The FDA recalled it after receiving 23 reports of serious liver problems in otherwise healthy people, including the death of a 19-year-old young man from liver failure. (Iovate disputes that Hydroxycut was responsible for the death.) Patients using the recommended amount of the supplement have reported jaundice (a yellowing of the skin), seizures, heart problems and a form of muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to kidney failure. Symptoms of serious liver problems include jaundice, brown urine, excessive tiredness, nausea and vomiting, itching and loss of appetite.
It is unclear which ingredient in Hydroxycut is behind the liver problems, the Associated Press said. The FDA does not have the power to review or test supplements before they go on the market, and Iovate has changed the supplement’s formula several times. However, a safety researcher interviewed by the Associated Press said the problem may be a fruit enzyme called hydroxycitric acid, which has been linked to liver problems in a scientific study.
As a Missouri dangerous drug attorney, I fear that this may only be the beginning of larger problems with this supplement. Hydroxycut is one of the most popular weight-loss supplements on the market, selling tens of millions of units over seven years. With so many users, it’s possible that far more than 23 users have encountered problems, but not connected them to using the supplement. Unfortunately, this is especially likely because the FDA has little regulatory power over dietary supplements. Instead, it must rely on post-consumption reports of problems from users of the supplements, and many consumers — or their doctors — don’t think to report their problems right away. In fact, the death believed to be related to Hydroxycut took place in 2007, but was reported only in March.
If you are one of the thousands of Americans who has used Hydroxycut and you now believe it’s responsible for serious health problems, you have legal rights. In a dangerous drug injury lawsuit, you can claim payment for all the medical treatment related to the supplement’s defects, as well as lost wages and compensation for your injuries. Carey, Danis & Lowe can help. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, our pharmaceutical liability lawyers represent clients around the nation who have been hurt by defective medications and dietary supplements.
If you would like to learn more about your rights and your options at a free, confidential consultation, please contact the Lowe Law Firm online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 today.