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Diet pills

Clinics told to stop advertising 'weight loss' fertility drug

The drug, human chorionic gonadotropin, is licensed for use in fertility treatment, and the Irish Medicines Board said it “advises strongly” against its use for weight loss.

TWO WEIGHT-LOSS clinics have been ordered to stop advertising a fertility drug as a way of losing weight.

The Irish Medicines Board has contacted the clinics and ordered them to remove the ads on their website.

The Sunday Times has named the two businesses as The Hospital Group and Donnybrook Cosmetic & Wellness Clinic.

The IMB’s concern related to the clinics advertising products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) as a weight-loss drug. HCG is authorised for women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, to promote ovulation, maturation of eggs and give hormonal support to them.

The hormone is extracted from the urine of pregnant women and is also used in the treatment of delayed puberty in boys.

The drug is authorised in IVF use, but it is not authorised for body weight reduction. The authorisation states:

HCG has no effect on fat metabolism, fat distribution or appetite and that this product should only be used under the supervision of a specialist having available adequate facilities for appropriate laboratory monitoring.

It has the potential to cause ovarian hyper-stimulation and also the risk of unwanted multiple pregnancy if the user is not aware of these, so authorised use is only under the supervision of a specialist.

In the US, oral products containing HCG have been advertised – leading to the US Food and Drug administration sending warning letters to a number of companies regarding the unsubstantiated claims for weight loss. If such a product was for sale in Ireland, it would be considered unauthorised, said the IMB.

The IMB has also, in conjunction with customs, detained small quantities of these products that were supplied via mail order.

The IMB is very concerned about the unsubstantiated promotion of HCG for weight loss. While the products promoted for weight loss appear to be for oral administration, if an injectable product were used for this purpose it would carry the risks outlined [above]. The IMB advises strongly against the use of HCG for weight loss.

The IMB investigated allegations made against two clinics and said it is satisfied that the advertisements relating to HCG either have already been removed or are being removed from the websites. It added:

We are satisfied that both companies have now committed to comply with the Medicinal Products (Control of Advertising) Regulations, 2007.

Read: Demand for public IVF treatment doubled in recession>

Read:  Bad planning contributing to Irish obesity levels – An Taisce>

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