GlaxoSmithKline, which makes alli, told the FDA that its lab tests showed the counterfeit version does not contain orlistat -- the active ingredient in alli. Fake alli contains sibutramine, the main ingredient used in the prescription appetite suppressant Meridia.
In its warning the FDA said part of the danger of the fake alli is how the medication would interact with other drugs the user is taking. Sibutramine also should not be used by people with certain medical conditions and is supposed to be administered under the watch of a physician.
Reports of counterfeit alli started cropping up last month, the FDA said. The FDA said these are some differences between the counterfeit alli packages and the authentic ones:
- Counterfeit alli's outer packaging doesn't have a lot code
- Authentic alli's expiration date only includes the month/year while the counterfeit has a month, day and year
- Real alli has the words "Sealed for your protection" printed on the inner foil safety seal while the counterfeit has no printed words.
- If you break a capsule, real alli will have small white pellets; the fake version will have a white powder.
If you think you have counterfeit alli, call the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations at 800-551-3989 or go to the office's web site.