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PPA on prime time

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Phenylpropanolamine safety concerns were focus of Fox Television's March 24 episode of "Beverly Hills 90210," which centered on a 17 year-old girl's abuse of an OTC diet aid containing the ingredient. The episode showed the character ingesting 2-3 times the regular dose of the PPA-containing product and starving herself until she collapses and is hospitalized. A refrain in the story was: "the product is available OTC and therefore must be safe." Industry has already stepped up label warnings under a voluntary agreement with FDA last fall. New labeling warns that PPA-containing diet aids should not be consumed by individuals under 18 years old and that the recommended dosage should not be exceeded. FDA currently is evaluating a case control study submitted by NDMA aimed at settling the issue of PPA safety in weight loss products ("The Tan Sheet" March 15, p. 8). An FDAer told FDLI March 25 that the agency is interested in meeting with NDMA sometime in April to discuss the study.

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