FDA Issues Warning for Hidden Medications in Dietary Supplements

FDA Issues Warning for Hidden Medications in Dietary Supplements
May 5, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several warnings about dietary supplements that contain hidden and unapproved medications.

The warnings come after an FDA examination of international mail shipments including weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements.

Sexual Enhancement Supplements

An FDA laboratory analysis found that the following supplements contained sildenafil, which is the active ingredient in Viagra. While Viagra is approved by the FDA as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, it is not approved for use in any of these supplements.

The ingredient is not included on the label posing a health risk for those who are taking nitrates. Nitrates may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates.

  • Viagra 007
  • Black Panther
  • King of Romance
  • Fatloss Slimming Beauty (marketed for weight loss, but contains sildenafil)

Pain Relievers

An FDA laboratory analysis found that the following supplements contained dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, and phenylbutazone. According to the FDA, Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions. Consumers are advised that corticosteroid use can impair a person's ability to fight infections, cause high blood sugar levels, muscle injuries and psychiatric problems. When corticosteroids are taken for a prolonged period, or at high doses, they can suppress the adrenal gland and cause withdrawal symptoms with abrupt discontinuation.

Phenylbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was discontinued for human use in the United States due to the risk of serious and life-threatening injuries. The most serious and life-threatening injury associated with phenylbutazone treatment is bone marrow toxicity, which occurs when the body does not produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells, and/or platelets. Certain types of bone marrow toxicity are reversible; however, in rare circumstances it can lead to death. Patients with anemia, low white or red blood cell count, or decreased blood platelets may be at a greater risk of death or serious injury.

  • Asihuri Plus Forte
  • Saurean Fong Sep Lin
  • Jianbu Huqian Wan
  • Ginseng She Lian Wan

Consumers taking these supplements are urged to immediately consult with their health care provider to safely discontinue use of this product. The risks of withdrawal from corticosteroids should be assessed by a health care professional.

Weight Loss Supplements

An FDA laboratory analysis found that the following supplements contained sibutramine, which is a controlled substance that was removed from the market in October 2010 for safety reasons.

Sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke. This product may also have life-threatening interactions with other medications a consumer may be taking.

  • Slime Forte Slimming Capsule
  • Li Da Dai Dai Hua Slimming Capsule
  • Superior (marketed online and in retail stores)

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FDA Releases Consumer Alerts for Hidden Medications in Weight Loss, Sexual Enhancement Supplements