iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that dietary supplements meant to improve sexual performance may contain ingredients that are found in prescription erectile dysfunction pills like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.
The agency expressed concern on Thursday that high dosages or unintended combinations could make taking some such supplements dangerous for consumers. In total, the FDA says, nearly 300 suppements found online, in gas stations or in vending machines could contain some of these ingredients.
The supplements take a number of forms, including pills, coffees and chewing gums and are labeled “all natural” or “herbal.” By not disclosing the hidden ingredients, the FDA says, even cautious consumers would be left unaware that they may be taking excessively high doses.
“We’re finding an alarming number of these products sold online and in retail stores,” the FDA’s National Health Fraud Coordinator Gary Coody said in a statement. “Consumers have no way of knowing which drugs or ingredients are actually in the product just by reading the ingredients on the label.”
The FDA reccomends being wary of products promising quick results, being advertised as alternatives to FDA-approved drugs, have labels written in a foreign language, or are sold in single servings.
“Some of these products,” Coody added, “have as many as six different ingredients contained in FDA-approved prescription drugs and analog of those ingredients.” He expressed concern that the agency can’t tell what danger the drugs pose, “because these combinations have never been studied before they’re sold to unsuspecting consumers.”
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