NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new study strengthens evidence that the once widely advertised weight-loss supplement Hydroxycut caused serious liver damage in some users.
Last May, 14 Hydroxycut products were recalled by the manufacturer, Canada-based Iovate Health Sciences, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to all consumers to stop using the supplements.
The warning was based on 23 reports to the agency describing liver damage in Hydroxycut users — ranging from inflammation to tissue death severe enough to require a liver transplant. The supplement was also linked to one death.
Iovate said in May that it was recalling Hydroxycut because they “became aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s assessment of 23 reports about consumers having experienced liver-related problems, as well as a small number of published case reports, was different from Iovate’s analysis.”
They noted that “the number of adverse event reports described by the FDA is small relative to the many millions of people who have used Hydroxycut products over the 7 years.”
In the new study, reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers analyzed 17 cases of liver damage among Hydroxycut users that had not yet appeared in the medical literature. Nine of the cases had been reported to the FDA, while eight were seen by the authors of the study.
Looking at factors like patients’ risk factors for liver disease and the timing of their Hydroxycut use, the researchers found that for eight of the liver-damage cases, there was a greater than 95 percent likelihood that the weight-loss aid was to blame.
In five cases, the researchers concluded that Hydroxycut was “highly likely” the cause (a 75 to 95 percent chance), while it was probably to blame in two cases (a 50 to 74 percent chance). The last two cases were considered to be possibly linked to Hydroxycut use.