Diet supplement linked to liver failure ordered off Hawaii shelves

Published: Oct. 9, 2013 at 9:00 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A day after the State Department of Health (DOH) asked Hawaii stores to voluntarily removal OxyELITE Pro from store shelves, officials are now ordering the removal of the fat-burning supplement.

DOH says all bottles of OxyELITE Pro must be off store shelves by Thursday morning or face a fine. The product embargo will continue until a state and federal investigation concludes.

DOH is currently investigating 29 cases of acute hepatitis and liver failure that may be related to the use of OxyELITE Pro. The cases under investigation include two individuals that have undergone liver transplants and one death.

48-year-old Sonnette Marras died Friday at the Queen's Medical Center after taking the supplement.

Marras' family tells Hawaii News Now that she took the supplement just weeks before becoming violently ill; she was the mother of seven.

While most of the cases have been in Hawaii, the CDC is investigating whether other liver injuries nationwide are related.

On Wednesday, health store GNC announced that it would stop selling the supplement in Hawaii even though they were "not aware of any scientific or medical evidence that establishes that the OxyELITE Pro product is unsafe."

The supplement is very popular and loyal users say they will continue to get the product online.

Angel Adams has been using OxyELITE Pro for years.  She's a fitness trainer who swears by it.  But last month, she claims she got a bad batch.

"I wasn't feeling that burst of energy," says Adams.

She compared the new bottles with previous bottles she had and said the packaging was slightly altered.  Then she opened the purple capsules and says she noticed a difference in the texture and taste of the powders.  She believes counterfeit products could be what's making people sick.

USPlabs, the manufacturer of OxyElite Pro says they have had problems with fake pills before.

Angel Adams worries that more people will buy the supplements from unreliable sources because of the embargo.  Only Hawaii stores fall under the order, so people can still get OxyElite Pro online.

"I hope they figure this out soon because people are not going to stop taking this product."

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