HCG drops banned by FDA, yet still being sold

Companies have found a way to get around ban

WRITTEN BY: Danielle Adams

HCG drops were banned by the FDA last year; yet, they are still being seen on drugstore shelves everywhere. How is this possible?

The FDA and FTC issued seven warning letters on Dec. 6, 2011 to companies marketing over-the-counter HCG drops that are labeled as “homeopathic” for weight loss.

HCG products state that each product should be taken in conjunction with a very low (500-800) calorie diet. Hcgblog.com explains the “science” behind the drug. “HCG is a hormone produced by a woman during pregnancy as a backup method to protect the growing fetus. In the event that the woman is consuming too few calories, the HCG hormone signals the brain to release her stored body fat to provide nourishment to the child. This same fat burning effect takes place when a man or woman takes HCG drops or injections for weight loss. “

There is no substantial evidence HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from the recommended caloric restriction. Consumers on a very low calorie diet are at increased risk for side effects including gallstone formation, electrolyte imbalance and heart arrhythmias.

“These HCG products marketed over-the-counter are unproven to help with weight loss and are potentially dangerous even if taken as directed,” said Ilisa Bernstein, acting director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “And a very low calorie diet should only be used under proper medical supervision.”

So, how are drugstores still selling this product? The HCG drops seen in stores are now being advertised as “hormone free.” But "hormone free" doesn't make it any less dangerous. There is no research on this version of the drug, which means the effects of the product are unknown and potentially unsafe.

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