The FDA has issued a warning to consumers who use red yeast rice in an effort to control their cholesterol. The defective products are sold by two Internet retailers – Swanson Healthcare Products and Sunburst Biorganics and are sold under the following brand names: Red Yeast Rice, Red Yeast Rice/Policosonal Complex and Cholestrix. All three products contain lovastatin, an ingredient found in Mevacor which used to control cholesterol and should only be available by prescription from your physician.
Lovastatin can have serious side effects if combined with other drugs such as nefazodone, an antidepressant, some antibiotics, pharmaceuticals used to treat fungal and HIV infections, and other medications used to lower cholesterol. Without the supervision of a physician, these drugs could inadvertently be combined with lovastatin which may cause musculatory distress resulting in possible damage to the kidneys.
According to the FDA, these retailers have been notified that they are not approved sell any product containing lovastatin. If they continue to do so they are subject to an injunction and their remaining product will be seized.
Consumers who have taken any of these red yeast rice products and take any other medications should contact their physician immediately. You may also want to find out more about defective and dangerous products by referring to product liability section.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.