A woman in her 50s fell seriously ill after consuming pills she had purchased from a peddler in Redhill Market.
According to an alert issued today by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), the woman took the pills to treat her headaches but, after three to four months of consuming them, ended up suffering from Cushing’s syndrome.
Cushing’s syndrome is a rare condition caused by unusually high levels of steroids in the body that could lead to other illnesses such as high blood pressure, bone loss or lowered immunity. Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include weight gain or a swollen face.
HSA said it was alerted to the pills by a doctor the woman had consulted with.
After running tests on the pills, HSA found them to contain not only steroids but also sildenafil, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction.
The pills came in the form of capsules containing brown powder and were sold in unlabelled packaging, HSA said. Buyers of the product would also receive a leaflet including a list of so-called herbal ingredients the drug was supposed to contain.
Written in Chinese, the ingredients the product claims to contain include Moringa seeds and cordyceps. The leaflet also states that the product can help treat illnesses like cancer and diabetes.
In addition to the unnamed pills, the alert issued by HSA today also contained warnings about two more products, one sold as slimming pills and another a type of ginseng candy.
HSA said the Skinny Lolita slimming pills tested positive for sibutramine, a substance that has been banned in Singapore since 2010 for causing heart attack and stroke risks.
The other product mentioned in the HSA alert, Xtreme Candy, tested positive for tadalafil, a prescription-only drug used to treat erectile dysfunction.
According to HSA, consuming tadalafil in improper doses could lead to stroke, heart attacks or even painful and exceedingly long erections, otherwise known as priapism.
Those found guilty of selling and supplying such products can be jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$100,000 (US$72,000), or both.
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