Weight-Loss Products Not Always Safe

Those that contain Seville orange herb ineffective and potentially dangerous

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FRIDAY, Sept. 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Ephedra-free weight-loss products that contain the herb citrus aurantium (Seville orange) aren't effective and may even be dangerous, says a review by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center.

They found no reliable scientific evidence that supports the use of c. aurantium for losing weight. They also found that high doses of c. aurantium, which contains synephrine, may be dangerous.

Synephrine can cause hypertension and c. aurantium interacts with drugs in a way similar to grapefruit juice, the researchers said.

"C. aurantium has many of the same potential deleterious cardiovascular effects as ephedra, and it also potentially affects the metabolism of other drugs," review co-author Adam Myers, a professor of physiology, said in a prepared statement.

"The public and the medical community should be concerned about the growing use of c. aurantium without adequate data on safety and efficacy," he said.

The review appears in the September issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned products with ephedra, a number of new ephedra-free herbal weight-loss products have appeared on store shelves. Many of these new products contain c. aurantium, which is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive problems.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about weight control.

SOURCE: Georgetown University Medical Center, news release, August 2004

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