Warning over food supplements
Health chiefs have issued an alert about a series of food supplements sold in shops that can cause liver failure.
The products - used for weight loss, energy boosting and muscle building - are to be pulled from shelves and anyone who has used them is advised to seek medical help.
The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) and the Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI) identified the products as OxyELITE Pro Super Thermo capsules, OxyELITE Pro Ultra-Intense Thermo capsules, OxyELITE Pro Super Thermo powder and VERSA-1.
IMB director of compliance John Lynch said some of these products have in the past contained a substance that rendered them illegal medicines.
"People are advised that, if they are feeling any ill effects after taking any of these products, they should contact their doctor and, if possible, present the product in question," Mr Lynch said.
The products have been associated with severe liver disorders, including hepatitis and liver failure with one case reported in Ireland to date.
They are being investigated in the United States, where a large number of cases of non-viral hepatitis have been reported - which have included one death and people requiring liver transplants.
Director of consumer protection at the FSAI Ray Ellard said online retailers have also been instructed to stop selling the products, which contain an ingredient called aegeline.
"Outlets such as gyms, sports supplement retailers and businesses selling supplements from websites are being asked to remove these products from sale and to clearly display a point-of-sale notice if they sold the products in the past," Mr Ellard said.
"People are taking a serious risk by taking these products. We know that OxyELITE Pro has, in the past, contained another unsafe ingredient and is now linked as a possible cause of acute hepatitis.
"Consumers should not purchase these types of products online as there is no guarantee of their safety or what they actually contain."