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Suspected adverse reactions associated with herbal products used for weight loss: a case series reported to the Italian National Institute of Health

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to describe suspected adverse reactions (ARs) associated with herbal products used for weight control in Italy.

Methods

Spontaneous reports of suspected ARs associated with herbal products used for weight control were collected by the Italian National Institute of Health (April 2002 to June 2010), and the causality assessment was performed.

Results

Forty-six of the suspected ARs were associated with herbal products used for weight control. Women were involved in 85% of the reports. The reactions affected mainly the cardiovascular system, the skin, the digestive system, the central nervous system, and the liver. A large proportion of ARs were serious. In more than half of the suspected ARs, the use of other therapies (herbs and/or drugs) was reported, while concomitant conditions were present in 22% of the reports.

Conclusions

The use of herbal dietary supplements for weight loss is associated with several ARs. Considering the risk/benefit ratio, consumers should pay attention when using these products.

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The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Annabella Vitalone.

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Vitalone, A., Menniti-Ippolito, F., Moro, P.A. et al. Suspected adverse reactions associated with herbal products used for weight loss: a case series reported to the Italian National Institute of Health. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 67, 215–224 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00228-010-0981-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00228-010-0981-4

Keywords

  • Adverse reactions
  • Dietary supplements
  • Natural products
  • Weight loss