Federal agents are on the prowl for dietary supplements that purportedly enhance erection function but may in fact pose health risks. Two weeks ago, U.S. marshals seized from a Florida warehouse some $74,000 worth of Xiadafil VIP tablets, which the Food and Drug Administration says were being marketed illegally and contain an undeclared ingredient similar to the active ingredient found in Viagra, a popular erectile dysfunction medication. Another company, with FDA prodding, has recently recalled its Viapro 375-mg capsules. July also brought a voluntary recall of Rize 2 The Occasion and Rose 4 Her brand supplements. And, earlier this spring, the FDA warned consumers not to use the supplements Blue Steel and Hero.
Regulators are concerned that people may view dietary supplements that are marketed as treatments for erectile dysfunction as safe and natural, even though some are laced with prescription drugs that can cause adverse reactions when taken with other medications. Some supplements, for example, contain substances similar to those found in Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. These so-called PDE-5 inhibitors are known to interact with nitrates, which are widely used as medications for chest pain. "You simply don't know whether many of these supplements are laced with PDE-5 inhibitors," says Ira Sharlip, a spokesperson for the American Urological Association.
The recent actions from the FDA are only the latest in a campaign against the illegally marketed supplements that has been ongoing since 2004. Here's a list of products the agency urges men to avoid: