March 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM ET
Three “male enhancement” products being sold online say they’re all herbal, but they contain hidden prescription drug ingredients and could be dangerous, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.
The three contain compounds similar to the active ingredients in the erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra and Cialis, the FDA said. They can cause serious problems in men being treated for heart disease and should not be taken without a doctor’s supervision.
The names of the three products -- “Rock-It Man”, “Libido Sexual Enhancer” and “Stiff Days” -- leave little doubt what they are supposed to be used for. But while they are marketed as alternatives to the prescription drugs to be used without the guidance of a doctor, they are in fact virtual copies, without any oversight to ensure they are safe.
“FDA laboratory analysis confirmed that ‘Rock-It Man’ contains the undeclared ingredient hydroxythiohomosildenafil. Hydroxythiohomosildenafil is structurally similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved prescription drug for Erectile Dysfunction (ED),” the FDA says in a statement.
“This undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates.”
Testing confirmed similar findings in “Libido Sexual Enhancer” and “Stiff Days".
Anyone who has bought any of the products should just toss them, the FDA advises.
“Consumers who have experienced any negative side effects should consult a health care professional as soon as possible,” it adds.
“This notification is to inform the public of a growing trend of dietary supplements or conventional foods with hidden drugs and chemicals. These products are typically promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss, and body building, and are often represented as being ‘all natural.’ FDA is unable to test and identify all products marketed as dietary supplements on the market that have potentially harmful hidden ingredients.”