FDA warns consumers about tainted dietary supplements


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers that products marketed as dietary supplements to promote weight loss, sexual enhancement, and bodybuilding have been found to contain undeclared or deceptively labeled ingredients. In recent years, nearly 300 tainted products have been identified as containing substances such as:

•             The same active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs or their analogs (closely-related drugs)

•             Other compounds, such as novel synthetic steroids, that do not qualify as dietary ingredients.

These products may contain misleading claims promoting the product as “alternatives” to FDA-approved drugs, or “legal” alternatives to anabolic steroids. In addition, they may also be marketed as supplements that claim to have effects similar to prescription drugs.

The FDA says that numerous complaints of injury associated with these products have been reported. FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. states: “These tainted products can cause serious adverse effects, including strokes, organ failure, and death.”

Hundreds of products with harmful ingredients have been identified by the FDA. The following is a description of the three categories of products they say are deceptively labeled:

•             Weight loss products containing active ingredients such as sibutramine: Sibutramine is the active ingredient in the drug Merida, which was recently withdrawn from the market due to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

•             Body-building products containing anabolic steroids or steroid analogs: These products can cause acute liver injury and increase the risk for heart attack, stroke and death. Products like Tren Xtreme, ArimaDex, and Clomed have been labeled to contain either anabolic steroids or aromatase inhibitors, which prevent anabolic steroids from being converted to estrogen.

 •            Sexual enhancement products that contain the same active ingredient or an analog of the active ingredient in the approved drugs Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. The approved products are available only by prescription, and they should not be used by people who have certain medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Products determined to be in violation of federal law by the FDA include Vigor-25, Duro Extend Capsules for Men, Magic Power Coffee, and others.

To learn more about protecting yourself from these harmful substances, please visit the FDA web pages dedicated to this topic.




Click here for a printer friendly version describing this problem:

Created on December 14, 2010