Nearly 50 over-the-counter pills and products billed as weight-loss and "male enhancement" aids were found to contain hidden, potentially harmful ingredients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.
Products with hidden active ingredients, including prescription medications, controlled substances and other untested ingredients, were found to be widely available on Amazon and Ebay as well as other online sites and in some retail stores across the U.S., according to the agency.
"These deceptive products can harm you!" the FDA said in a press release warning consumers not to purchase dozens of named sexual enhancement supplements with unauthorized contents.
The "White Panther" male enhancement pill, for example, which FDA investigators said they purchased from eBay.com, was confirmed to contain sildenafil and tadalafil, the active ingredients found in Viagra and Cialis, respectively.
The two substances may only be used in products prescribed by a licensed health care professional. When used improperly, they could lower blood pressure to dangerous levels, the FDA said.
Another pill product, called "Rock Steady 72 Hours," purchased from Amazon, contained the same two prescription-only ingredients.
"Hidden drugs and chemicals"
The FDA also found that "Super Slim," a product sold on Ebay that claims to help with weight loss, contained two controlled substances that were removed from the market more than a decade ago for safety reasons. The product could be life-threatening depending on what other medications a consumer might be taking, the FDA said.
In all, the FDA on Thursday identified a list of close to 50 dietary and sexual performance products consumers should avoid as part of its effort to rein in what it called "a growing trend of dietary supplements or conventional foods with hidden drugs and chemicals."