Consumer Reports: Hidden drugs in supplements

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — If improving your wellness is a new year’s resolution, maybe you’re thinking about taking dietary supplements. But before you click the “buy” button, Consumer Reports has an important warning about potentially dangerous substances found in some supplements sold online.

Sildenafil, tadalafil, and fluoxetine are not only hard to pronounce, they’re also active ingredients in popular prescription drugs. Sildenafil is in Viagra, tadalafil is in Cialis, and fluoxetine is in Prozac.

You may be surprised to hear that the FDA also found those ingredients in some weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements sold on eBay and Amazon. Some of the tainted products sold on Amazon were even labeled Number-One-Best Seller on Amazon’s Choice, according to a press release from the FDA.

It’s against the law for a dietary supplement to contain any drugs, and the ingredients must be accurately listed on the label. But what the FDA found were essentially “hidden” drugs in many of these supplements.

The company eBay responded to Consumer Reports saying it was “reviewing the site” and would be removing the tainted products. Amazon said it was “reviewing the information from the FDA” and would take action accordingly.

Even if the companies take down the tainted supplements identified by the FDA, that might not solve the larger problem. This is just the latest in a string of studies that have found undeclared and potentially dangerous drugs in dietary supplements.

If you take a supplement, be sure to check the FDA’s database on tainted products to make sure it isn’t listed. And even if the supplement you take isn’t on the list, you should still be cautious.

Talk with a doctor or another healthcare professional about whether the ingredients may interact with any medications or supplements you’re currently taking.

If you experience any reaction from a supplement, the FDA wants to hear from you. File what’s called an “adverse event report” online. And if it’s serious, call your doctor or 911.

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