FDA Warns of Potentially Dangerous Male Enhancement and Weight Loss Products Sold Online

A number of sexual enhancement and weight loss products sold on Amazon.com, eBay and other consumer sites may pose serious health risks, according to a warning issued by federal regulators.

In a warning issued on December 17, the FDA is calling on consumers to avoid more than 50 male enhancement and weight loss products widely marketed on the internet and retail stores, which may contain ingredients found in prescription drugs.

The undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients make the supplements potentially dangerous for consumers, and they are not approved by the FDA as safe or effective.

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The FDA purchased the products in question on Amazon and eBay, conducting testing that found active pharmaceutical ingredients that were not listed on the labels, including some ingredients found in prescription medications that carry potential side effects. The FDA issued similar warnings concerning potentially dangerous consumer products over the past decade.

Overall, the agency found 26 harmful products on Amazon and 20 on eBay which contained undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients. Roughly 80% of products purchased from either site contained hidden ingredients.

FDA lab testing found the products contained sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, sibutramine, desmethylsibutramine, phenolphthalein, and/or fluoxetine. Many of these ingredients are active ingredients in FDA-approved prescription drugs and restricted for use only under the supervision of a doctor.

The warning indicates many of the products have names which are the same or similar to products that were involved in previous FDA consumer warnings. The products are also often designated as “Amazon Choice” or “#1 Best Seller,” conveying that they may be safe or endorsed by the retailers.

“While the FDA has engaged in discussions with online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay regarding these issues in the past, we believe they can do more to protect consumers from these fraudulent and potentially dangerous products,” wrote FDA officials. “We continue to urge stores, websites and online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, to take appropriate steps to protect the American public by not selling or facilitating the sale of illegal FDA-regulated products.”

Consumers should use the FDA’s tainted products database to identify potentially dangerous products, such as male enhancement or weight loss products. The database contains more than 1,000 products. However, the FDA warned, the agency is unable to test and identify all potentially dangerous consumer products with hidden ingredients.

Even if the product is not listed, consumers should be wary of using a product promoted as a sexual enhancement, male enhancement, weight loss, bodybuilding, sleep aid, or pain relief product.

Consumers should also be wary of products which offer quick results or immediate relief, and sound too good to be true. Often, those products are too good to be true and will lead to serious side effects.

When in doubt, consumers should talk to their doctor before using any of these products, especially because they can interfere with other medications or dietary supplements the consumer is taking.

If a consumer has experienced an adverse side effect linked to these products, the FDA requests they file a report with the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

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