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It’s a dangerous supplement world out there

We've posted cautionary tales on certain dietary supplements here and here. Unfortunately, it's time for another blog about the dangers lurking behind the seemingly innocent dietary supplements claiming to help you lose weight or treat your erectile dysfunction.

hot detoxJust this week, the US FDA published nine new warnings regarding tainted weight loss and erectile dysfunction products. Citrus Fit Gold, Hot Detox, and Thinogenics may claim to be dietary supplements, but the FDA found them to contain undeclared sibutramine. Sibutramine was withdrawn from the market in several countries due to the dangers inherent in its use. SexRx, JINQIANGBUDOR Red Dragon, Bali Mojo, Vimax, and Tiger King, all marketed as sexual enhancement supplements, were found to contain the prescription drugs sildenafil and/or tadalafil. And Tonic Life BP, another weight loss supplement, was found to contain phenolphthalein, a potentially carcinogenic drug that is not approved for use in the US. We have added all of these to our database as Red Flag supplements. The fact that these products claim to contain herbs and other natural ingredients, while secretly containing prescription drugs, make them even more dangerous than getting those prescription drugs directly from the pharmacy; nobody is explaining the side effects or potentially harmful medication interactions to the consumer.

Those looking for easy weight loss or a quick fix in the bedroom face potentially drastic complications when they grab the wrong dietary supplement and, sadly in some cases, even death. Stiff Nights was found to contain an analog of sildenafil by the FDA, MFDS, and Health Canada in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. Despite the numerous warnings about this product, it remains easily found in stores and online. In September 2012, David McElwee purchased Stiff Nights at a local store in Kansas City, Missouri. His family alleges his subsequent cardiac arrest and death at age 39 were a direct result of his taking Stiff Nights. His family has filed a lawsuit for wrongful death against the store as well as the manufacturers of the product, Novacare and Impulsaria. The trial is set for later this year; however, Novacare has recently filed a motion to dismiss. We'll be keeping an eye on this case, but regardless of the outcome, consumers should be wary of dietary supplements making weight loss or sexual enhancement claims. The lucky consumer just gets scammed. But when you can't be sure if the product contains a prescription drug, instead of the "all natural" ingredients claimed on the bottle, caution is the best medicine.

If in doubt, please talk with your doctor before pursuing any natural treatments, and search our website to check the product legitimacy. We compile warnings from agencies throughout the world in an effort to protect consumers from tainted products and from those making claims that are too good to be true. If you don't see the product you're searching for in our database, please leave us a comment and we'll take a look!