FDA warns consumers about Hydroxycut
ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned consumers to immediately stop using Hydroxycut products by Iovate Health Sciences based on a possible association with a number of serious liver injuries.
Iovate has agreed to recall Hydroxycut products from the market.
“Iovate Health Sciences is strongly committed to product safety and welcomes balanced regulation for the dietary supplement industry,” the company stated Friday. “The number of adverse event reports described by the FDA in its advisory is small relative to the many millions of people who have used Hydroxycut products over the past seven years. Iovate’s own assessment of the potential risk associated with the use of these products differs from that expressed by the FDA. Every product marketed by Iovate is evaluated during its development for the safety of its individual ingredients,” the company noted.
Steve Mister, president and CEO for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, stated that, “both the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the manufacturer of the Hydroxycut products in question, took appropriate action today. We commend FDA for warning consumers of a potential safety problem associated with these products, and were encouraged to see that the company — Iovate Health Sciences — agreed to recall the products from the market until further determinations can be made.”
Hydroxycut is the leading dietary supplement diet aid in food, drug and mass markets, generating $36.8 million in sales across food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) outlets for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 5, 2008, according to Information Resources Inc. data. According to FDA officials, Hydroxycut reported it had sold more than 9 million units in the calendar year of 2008.
“The FDA urges consumers to discontinue use of Hydroxycut products in order to avoid any undue risk,” stated Linda Katz, interim chief medical officer of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. During a press conference with reporters Friday morning, the identification of the possible link between liver adverse events and Hydroxycut was made possible in part by the mandatory reporting of adverse events associated with dietary supplements.
The FDA has received 23 reports of serious health problems, ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes, an indicator of potential liver injury, to liver damage requiring liver transplant. One death due to liver failure has been reported to the FDA. Other health problems reported include seizures; cardiovascular disorders; and rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle damage that can lead to other serious health problems such as kidney failure.
The death occurred in the fall of 2007 and was reported to the agency in March, 2009, FDA stated. “[However], the 2007 death referenced by the FDA was not caused by Hydroxycut,” the company noted.
Liver injury, although rare, was reported by patients at the doses of Hydroxycut recommended on the bottle. Symptoms of liver injury include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) and brown urine. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, light-colored stools, excessive fatigue, weakness, stomach or abdominal pain, itching and loss of appetite.
Hydroxycut products are dietary supplements that are marketed for weight-loss, as fat burners, as energy-enhancers, as low carb diet aids and for water loss under the Iovate and MuscleTech brand names. The list of products being recalled by Iovate currently includes:
- Hydroxycut Regular Rapid Release Caplets
- Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Rapid Release Caplets
- Hydroxycut Hardcore Liquid Caplets
- Hydroxycut Max Liquid Caplets
- Hydroxycut Regular Drink Packets
- Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Drink Packets
- Hydroxycut Hardcore Drink Packets (Ignition Stix)
- Hydroxycut Max Drink Packets
- Hydroxycut Liquid Shots
- Hydroxycut Hardcore RTDs (Ready-to-Drink)
- Hydroxycut Max Aqua Shed
- Hydroxycut 24
- Hydroxycut Carb Control
- Hydroxycut Natural
Although the FDA has not received reports of serious liver-related adverse reactions for all Hydroxycut products, Iovate has agreed to recall all the products listed above. Hydroxycut Cleanse and Hoodia products are not affected by the recall.
Drugstore.com delivers in three focus areas, CEO says
BELLEVUE, Wash. So far, so good. Drugstore.com on Thursday announced that it is delivering on three areas of focus in what has become an exceedingly challenging retail environment.
“I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve made substantial progresses in all [three] of these areas in the first quarter, posting one of our strongest quarters to date, despite facing a very tough economy,” Dawn Lepore, Drugstore.com CEO and chairman, told analysts Wednesday evening.
The three focal points for Drugstore.com included a focus on growing its over-the-counter and vision businesses at a faster rate than overall e-commerce; a focus on driving bottom-line improvements and a focus on incremental growth for the year.
So the scorecard so far —OTC revenue grew over 11%, well ahead of recent e-commerce industry trends, and the beauty business grew at an even faster pace, increasing 14%, despite a decline in the beauty industry.
Gross margins were at 28.2%, delivering adjusted EBITDA of $5.6 million to the bottom line, which is more than double the adjusted EBITDA the previous-year period.
“I believe our record performance in the first quarter offers evidence that we can continue to grow in a difficult economic environment, while also improving the strategic positioning of the company,” Lepore said, suggesting that the online retailer will be able to maintain its improved performance through the remainder of the year.
Looking forward, Drugstore.com plans to launch its Medco Health Solutions-branded OTC web site in the second quarter, with a notable ramp in the second half of the year. “We believe our partnership is on track and we are in active conversations with other potential partners,” Lepore said.
CDC updates swine flu count
ATLANTA The number of confirmed swine flu cases in the United States now totals 109, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in an update released Thursday morning. South Carolina has added 10 cases to the tally, brining the number of states affected to 11.
The state-by-state count so far includes Arizona (1), California (14), Indiana (1), Kansas (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), Nevada (1), New York (50), Ohio (1), South Carolina (10) and Texas (26), with one confirmed swine flu death in Texas.
“In response to an intensifying outbreak in the United States and internationally caused by a new influenza virus of swine origin, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 5 on April 29, 2009,” the CDC stated. A Phase 5 alert is a “strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.”
CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile continues to send antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment and respiratory protection devices to all 50 states and U.S. territories to help them respond to the outbreak, the agency stated. The swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir).
In addition, the federal government and manufacturers have begun the process of developing a vaccine against this new virus, CDC stated.