In a recent warning, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that “FDA has identified an emerging trend where over-the-counter products, frequently represented as dietary supplements, contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful. Consumers may unknowingly take products laced with varying quantities of approved prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. These deceptive products can harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for weight loss.”
Just a week before this warning about Tainted Weight Loss Products the FDA released a public notification regarding weight loss product Supreme Slim 5.7 advising consumers not to use the product or purchase it from online or retail stores. After FDA laboratory analysis, the drug was found to contain the unapproved drug phenolphthalein, which may be associated with an increased risk of cancer.
The weight loss product also contained undeclared sildenafil, the active ingredient in erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. Prescription drugs are monitored by doctors and often could cause potentially dangerous interactions when taken concurrently with other drugs. The FDA warns that sildenafil might interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, possibly lowering blood pressure to dangerous levels.
In addition to those potential drug interactions, sildenafil itself is on the FDAs watch list, as the agency is looking into claims that the drug and other PDE5 inhibitors increase risk of skin melanomas. Recent research has found that men who’ve taken sildenafil are 84 percent more likely to develop melanoma than men who have not. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
For those who have taken this product or other dietary supplement and experienced any adverse events or side effects the FDA encourages reporting those using the MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.
The FDA includes a list of all FDA public announcements and warnings about dietary supplements dating back to 2009, however warns that the list only covers a small fraction of the tainted products on the market. Most of the announcements conclude with the following note:
“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 that have potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Consumers should exercise caution before purchasing any product in the above categories.”