There is never a dull day in the weight loss especially since there is a new product out week. Here is brief update on which products are facing major class action suits and the ways in which these products affect you. Keep in mind that even if you are using a product that is not listed here many over-the-counter weight loss supplements contain ingredients similar to or the exact same as those found in the list below.
Probably the most popular drug on our list is dimethylamylamine or DMAA. This ingredient drug is found in over 200 brand name dietary supplements, and comes with a host of side-effects. Among them are:
- Sudden death
- Liver damage and failure
- Heart attack
- Kidney damage and failure
The drug has also been reported to cause seizures, nausea and heart failure among other things. In an attempt to bridle this all too common substance, the FDA issued warning letters to some manufacturers stating that it is not a suitable active ingredient in dietary supplements. Manufactures now face ongoing class action suits and have already paid out millions of dollars in damages.
This drug sends your heart racing, increases your blood pressure, and has been linked to strokes heart attacks, bleeding in the brain and even deaths. In fact, ephedra has been directly linked to over 150 deaths and more than 1000 injuries. To get an idea of the severity of this supplement, note that the FDA must prove that a substance poses a significant and unreasonable risk to the user in order to ban its use. The FDA successfully banned ephedra in 2003. Ephedra lawsuits have been a hot topic since 2004 when a jury awarded $7.4 million to a woman who suffered brain damage after taking the Metabolife supplement. Her suit was the first, but because this product, marketed as all natural, had millions of users, suits are still being filed today.
Fen-Phen is no stranger to bad press. A combination of Fenfluramine and Phentermine, the drug ran rampant in the 90s and was first banned in Florida in 1997. The state claimed a “need to protect the public,” after Mayo Clinic studies found rare heart valve defects in over 80 users. The company producing Fen-Phen, American Home Products Corporation, faced well over 37,000 law suits and has paid millions of dollars in compensation to victims and loved ones of those who developed PPH, a potentially fatal lung disorder that can lead to heart failure. Herbal fen-phen is now available, but consumers should keep in mind that “herbal” does not mean safe as was the case with many ephedra products.
Hydroxycut has been wildly popular for over a decade, is fairly cheap and has been rebranded in over a dozen ways. The company Muscle Tech has produced:
- Hydroxycut Hardcore
- Hydroxycut Max Liquid Caplets
- Hydroxycut Liquid shots
- Hydroxycut Max drink packets or “Ignition Stix”
- Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free rapid Release Caplets
- Hydroxycut Carb control
- Hydroxycut Hydroxycut natural
Those are just a few of the big guns in the Hydroxycut arsenal. What the brilliant marketing campaigns fail to tell you is that liver injury and liver failure death has been reported in consumers’ ages 21 to 51, most with no preexisting medical conditions. It is especially important to note that discontinuation of the Hydroxycut products resulted in recovery of liver function in some cases. Symptoms of liver damage include jaundice and brown urine while other symptoms of the product include: vomiting, excessive fatigue, weakness, stomach or abdominal pain, itching and loss of appetite. Despite the FDA warning issued in 2009 the products are still on the shelves. Those who have suffered as a result of these products can always seek legal retribution as is the case for those joining the $25.4 million suit currently in progress.
Playing the part of the oddball in this list of weight loss products, Sensa has faced lawsuits not because it has caused anyone harm, but because people believe they are being downright lied to. Sensa users have argued that they were “tricked” into buying the crystals based on claims the company made that aren’t backed by scientific proof. Although the company denies these claims, stating that they use three product studies and scientific research regarding neurology and the science of smell and taste, they have agreed to a class action lawsuit settlement to avoid the cost of ongoing litigation. Those who qualify for the suit purchased Sensa before August 21, 2012 and submitted a claim form before December 13, 2012. The case was settled and consumers were awarded over $6 million in claims. These false advertising claims have cost the company millions of dollars, but they continue to produce and successfully sell and market the product, which is more than can be said for many of the products that made our list.
Paul and Susan Colley are Austin lawyers at Colley & Colley L.L.P. Paul has recovered over $50 million for clients in his career and Susan won a client over $1.6 million in a single claim. They pride themselves on their handwork and take all cases on a contingency basis meaning they don’t get paid unless you do.