“Many consumers perceive these products as completely safe because they are often sold with labeling, suggesting that they are all-natural alternatives to prescription drug products that have been approved by FDA for treating ED. But these products may be laced with potentially hazardous ingredients that aren’t noted on the label,” says Linda Silvers, leader of FDA’s Internet and Health Fraud Team, part of the Office of Compliance (OOC) in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).
Silver completed an Internet survey of these “dietary supplements” and found that over 1/3 contained undisclosed prescription drug ingredients or similar substances.
Six of the 17 products tested contained the active ingredient in Viagra, sildenafil, or other substances similar to sildenafil or vardenafil (active ingredient for Levitra). The undisclosed ingredients in these supplements can lead to serious side-effects for consumers.
People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease are often prescribed drugs containing nitrates, and men with these conditions commonly suffer from ED, says Mark Hirsch, a Medical Team Leader in CDER’s Division of Reproductive and Urologic Products. “Those are factors that doctors consider when prescribing approved ED treatments.”
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Sally Eberhard, Acting team Leader of OOC’s Import-Export Team says that the FDA and U.S. Customs are working together to screen and stop these kind of shipments from entering the U.S. Also, the FDA is trying to come up with new ways to educate consumers about the risks of buying the sexual enhancement products on the Internet.
Here is a list of some of the products that consumers should avoid:
Lycium Barbarum L.
Rhino V Max
HS Joy of Love
Shangai Ultra X
Shangai Regular, also marketed as Shangai Chaojimengnan
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.