FDA Warnings: Hidden Ingredients in Supplements

Sexual enhancement, weight loss supplements may contain hidden drug ingredients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh

(RxWiki News) The FDA recently identified several dietary supplements that contained hidden drug ingredients that could pose health risks.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released several warnings on its website that noted hidden drug ingredients in sexual enhancement and weight loss supplements. Some of these hidden drug ingredients could interact with other medications or are not approved by the agency.

The FDA reviews and approves all prescription medications in the US for safety and effectiveness. But the agency is unable to test all over-the-counter dietary supplements. Supplements marked "all natural" and promoted for weight loss, sexual enhancement and body building often contain potentially dangerous hidden drug ingredients, according to the FDA.

For instance, the most recent warnings note that several sexual enhancement supplements contain sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. The FDA has approved sildenafil for use in erectile dysfunction patients — but only with a prescription.

According to the FDA, sildenafil "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."

Doctors and pharmacists can navigate these potentially dangerous drug interactions and side effects for patients. But patients unknowingly taking sildenafil in a dietary supplement could face health risks.

Among the most recently noted sexual enhancement supplements with hidden ingredients are the following:

  • Ultra SX Capsules
  • Fuel Up Plus
  • Fuel Up High Octane
  • Super Dragon 6000 Capsules
  • Sex-Love Secret Code Capsules
  • Wild Sexx Capsules
  • S.W.A.G.G.E.R Extreme Capsules

The FDA also warned about three weight loss supplements that contained hidden drug ingredients. Two of these supplements (Tip-Top Shape and Lishou Slimming Coffee) contained sibutramine. This "poses a threat to consumers because 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," according to the FDA. Sibutramine was taken off the market in October 2010 for safety reasons.

The third weight loss supplement in question (Xtreme Fat Burner Capsules) contained the drugs phenolphthalein and sildenafil. Phenolphthalein is not FDA-approved and is thought to raise patients' cancer risk.

Consumers should not take any of the above supplements. Always speak to a doctor or pharmacist before starting any new supplement.

The FDA is asking patients to report any adverse reactions or side effects involving these supplements.

Review Date: 
October 26, 2015
Last Updated:
October 26, 2015