An Auckland woman who was rushed to hospital, violently ill after taking a weight loss supplement sold by a Utah-based pyramid scheme, says she’s concerned at how common the products are in New Zealand.
Truvy weight loss supplements.
The woman, who didn’t want to be named for fear it would ruin a friendship, said she was sold the Truvy — formerly named Truvision Health — supplement from someone she knew.
Truvy is a multi-level marketing company headquartered in Utah, mostly selling weight loss pills through affiliates.
The Auckland woman said she was sceptical of the weight loss solution, but after seeing the woman who sold them to her have success she decided to give them a go.
The woman starting consuming the brand’s truCONTROL, truFIX and reNU supplements.
However, soon after taking the capsules the woman became very sick.
“It made me so sick I ended up going to hospital with extreme vomiting to the point of bringing up pure bile. It made me wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing so badly that I thought I was going to die,” she told 1 NEWS.
She was taken to Waitakere Hospital in November last year.
At first, the woman didn’t know what was making her sick but a week after she started taking the capsules she stopped.
She is now feeling well again.
“I was sceptical about this product but was told to just give it a try,” she said, adding that she’d seen some reviews online of people getting sick but thought it was rare cases as she’d seen it work.
“The lady I bought them from is adamant that I didn’t take them the ‘correct’ way and is fully convinced my experience was not related to these pills whatsoever.”
But the woman said she took the supplement as outlined on the box.
She’s not alone in getting sick, though. Reviews of Truvy products on Amazon reveal some bad responses, with a few people saying the pills made them feel really sick.
One of the products the Auckland woman took contains Octodrin, also known as Dimethylhexylamine or DMHA, which is a stimulant classed as a prescription-only drug in New Zealand in 2019.
“Octodrine is a substance that is not currently available as an approved medicine in New Zealand. It is similar to amphetamine-like substances with a stimulant effect and is promoted as a ‘fat burner’, for performance enhancement and as a weight loss product,” a Ministry of Health spokesperson told 1 NEWS.
“If sold/supplied in New Zealand it would be regarded as a prescription medicine. Sale/supply would be a breach of the Medicines Act 1981 with substantial penalties, on successful prosecution, as outlined in section 20 of that act. Without a prescription for an octodrine-containing product, purchasers would also likely breach the act.”
MedSafe has also strongly advised consumers not to take products containing octodrine, unless prescribed by a New Zealand registered medical practitioner.
As well, Medsafe urged people against buying such products from overseas websites as the contents, quality and safety of the products may not be assured and may lead the purchaser to breaching New Zealand law.
“Side effects may present as a range of symptoms including cardiovascular and psychological effects. We advise that anyone suffering an adverse reaction to a medicine or complementary health care product should report this to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring,” the Health Ministry spokesperson said.
Now, the Auckland woman wants others to be aware as she said the supplements she took were popular in the South African community.
She said the woman who sold her the drugs has over 200 people on a Facebook page where she sells them, and is one of over 300 selling them in New Zealand.
“These people that are selling it have no idea about the person’s medical history and that really annoys me, to be honest,” she said.
Her advice for anyone else considering trying the products was to take it to someone who knows what they are talking about, like a GP.
“Just do a bit more research on it.”
Truvy has been contacted by 1 NEWS but is yet to give a response to questions about people getting sick after using its supplements.