Supplements found to contain prescription drugs
  • Fri, 08/03/2012 - 1:02pm

Thursday, Consumer Reports revealed 10 startling dangers of vitamins and supplements, particularly those intended to improve male sexual performance. After interviewing experts, reviewing research studies and analyzing FDA reports of serious adverse events, the magazine found that many “all natural” products are spiked with prescription drugs.

For example, Evol Nutrition Associates markets a sexual enhancement product called Mojo Nights. The FDA recently tested the “all-natural” product and concluded that it actually contained sildenafil and tadalafil, active elements in Cialis and Viagra. Thus, it should not surprise you to learn the product claims to “stop premature ejaculations” and “increase the strength and power of your erection.” But, according to Consumer Reports, manufacturers are not permitted to claim their dietary supplements directly affect the function of any specific body part.

Since 2008, more than 400 products intended for bodybuilding, weight loss and sexual enhancement have been recalled.

These drugs are particularly dangerous because consumers are subjected to traces of powerful prescription medications that they never intended to take.

As the magazine states, “Don't assume they're safe because they're 'all natural.’” More advice?
  1. Though supplements are known to have fewer risks than prescription drugs, it is important to remember that they are not risk-free.
  2. Note that supplements containing prescription drugs may cause adverse side effects. So how do you spot one? “A number of the spiked sexual enhancement products claim to work within 20 to 45 minutes,” the FDA’s website says. “When we see a product that makes claims above and beyond what a dietary supplement might do – and above supporting health – and  within a time frame of a few minutes, it tips us off that we might have a spiked product.”
  3. You can overdose on vitamins and minerals. Unless a doctor recommends it, you probably don’t need more than 100 percent of daily vitamins and minerals.
  4. You can’t depend on warning labels. The FDA does not require warning labels on supplements unless they contain iron. Those that contain iron must warn about fatal poisoning in children and accidental overdose.
  5. Note that supplements are not permitted to claim that they are able to cure disease.
  6. Be cautious when buying from stores that sell medicinal plants and objects intended for physical and spiritual healing. Information about these products is often incomplete and contains unlabeled or unidentified herbs.
  7. Be wary of supplements claiming to provide heart and cancer protection. Many people believe that antioxidant supplements reduce the risk of cancer, but high doses of antioxidant supplements may actually increase cancer risk.
  8. Realize that pills may irritate the esophagus and cause muscle spasms that increase the risk of choking.
  9. “Look for [vitamins, botanicals or other supplements] with the "USP Verified" mark, which means they meet standards of quality, purity, and potency set by the nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeia,” says Consumer Reports.
  10. Recognize that you may not actually need supplements. If you eat fruit, vegetables, cereals, dairy and protein, dietary supplements have little benefit.



About the Contributor

Kaitlin Gill
I report on news regarding product safety concerns for individuals and families.

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