Hypertensive Retinopathy Associated With Use of the Ephedra-Free Weight-Loss Herbal Supplement Hydroxycut

Scott L. Willis, MD; Fouad J. Moawad, MD; Joshua D. Hartzel; Melissa Iglesias, DO; William L. Jackson, MD


September 28, 2006


The use of performance-enhancing and weight-loss supplements is prevalent in the United States. Over the past decade, there has been growing concern with regard to the safety and efficacy of these products. Ephedra-based products have been associated with several adverse reactions, including serious cardiovascular and neurologic injuries.[1,2,3] Because the US Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of ephedra-based products, many companies are now marketing ephedra-free products. Although these products are marketed as being safer, recent reports suggest that they may have potential, serious side effects that are similar to that of ephedra-based products.[4,5,6] We report the case of a patient who developed malignant hypertension and hypertensive retinopathy associated with the use of Hydroxycut (MuscleTech, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), a caffeine-based ephedra-free herbal supplement.


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