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Tuesday, March 9, 1999 Published at 11:07 GMT


Cellulite 'cure' goes on sale

Cellasene is hailed as cure for cellulite

An anti-cellulite treatment which has caused stampedes in Australia goes on sale in the UK on Tuesday.

The BBC's Rachel Ellison reports on the frenzy that greeted the launch in Australia
The treatment, sold under the name Cellasene in Australia, is a herbal remedy combining natural ingredients such as grape seed, red clover and evening primrose oil. It has been hailed as the Viagra of cellulite.

Italian manufacturer Medestea Interna claims it increases the body's metabolic rate so that the fat which causes cellulite can be used faster.

But the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is calling for more tests in the UK to see whether Cellasine is safe.

It is concerned that the product has not been subjected to vigorous clinical trials because it is not classified as a medicine.

When the results of clinical trials were shown on Australian television, there were stampedes and fights among shoppers anxious for the 'miracle' cure.

Each box of 40 capsules costs £25 and lasts for 20 days. The dietary supplement is designed to be taken twice a day for up to eight weeks.

The treatment, which is sold under different names in different countries, is already on sale in France, Switzerland, Greece, New Zealand and in countries on the Pacific Rim.

'No side effects'

[ image: Dr Gianfranco Merizzi claims the treatment is safe]
Dr Gianfranco Merizzi claims the treatment is safe
Dr Gianfranco Merizzi, who helped to develop the treatment and owns the distribution company, said cellulite was caused by fat deposition.

He said cellasene worked by repairing the blood vessels serving the areas where cellulite had developed, thus increasing blood flow and speeding up the burning of fat deposits.

He said Italian trials had shown the treatment worked, and was not associated with side effects.

However, he said the treatment should not be taken during pregnancy, immediately after childbirth, or by women who suffer from hyperthyroidism.

Dr Roger Odd, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said insufficient evidence that the treatment works had been published.

He said: "We are talking about a product which is affecting the metabolism of the body.

"Some people may be affected by the product because of tablets that they are taking already, or perhaps the metabolism of their body does not suit this product."

"We believe we need to have a lot more testing done before we are actually satisfied that this product is safe to use.

"Even though it says it is a natural product that does not mean it is perfectly safe."

[ image: Dr Roger Odd wants more tests]
Dr Roger Odd wants more tests
Dr Odd said one of the ingredients, gilko, was known to affect the heart and the circulatory system.

Cellulite is the lumpy, rippled skin appearance common to men and women of all sizes and ages.

It is formed when the process for cleaning and feeding the body's fatty tissue slows down and waste material builds up.

The material thickens into a gelatin-like substance which hardens to form pockets which are difficult to shift.

Doctors disagree about the causes of cellulite.

They say it could be due to genetic reasons, diet, water retention or lack of exercise.

Professional recommendation

Dr Daniella Manes, a gynaecologist and obstetrician from Milan, said she had been amazed by the results when she used Cellasene herself.

She said: "After my second child my cellulite was bad. I felt ugly and I hated showing my legs."

She decided to try Cellasene after a patient had mentioned it and saw the results within days.

She said: "I followed the routine perfectly and my cellulite disappeared without any side effects. Now I take it for 40 days twice a year and my cellulite is under control.

"I recommend it to other women."

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