Israel on Thursday issued a warning against under-the-counter weight loss supplements that have been found to contain traces of MDMA, a stimulant street drug commonly known as ecstasy.
The Health Ministry said in a statement that laboratory tests showed that the pills, sold under the brand name Phen Q, also contained sibutramine, a substance banned for use and marketing due to cardiac and psychotic side effects.
Other substances found in the supplement included the anti-depressant fluoxetine and phenolphthalein, a prescription laxative.
The product is sold in blue-white boxes that contain both red-gray capsules and tea bags.
The ministry notes that this is the third time in the past year that it has alerted the public about slimming people containing dangerous substances sold surreptitiously online.
"This dangerous phenomenon has led to hospitalizations in the past and can be life-threatening," said Dr. Roni Berkowitz, head of the Health Ministry's Division of Enforcement and Inspection.
"The Health Ministry works together with law enforcement to investigate similar incidents, where in some cases people were even arrested for selling fake and illegal weight loss pills."
The Health Ministry has advised the public to only purchase medicines from approved sources, such as pharmacies and pharmaceutical chains, and to avoid buying pills through social media and other unrecognized sources.