Sexual enhancement supplements could contain dangerous drugs - KCTV5

Sexual enhancement supplements could contain dangerous drugs

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Makers of sexual enhancement supplements have come under fire after experts learned some potentially harmful ingredients are being left off the label. 

Eyewitness News talked to doctors about these hidden ingredients that could do serious damage to your health. 

Hundreds of products sold over the counter promising to improve a man's sexual performance may be tainted with potentially hazardous ingredients.

Powerful medications that you should only be able to get with a prescription are being left off the label and ending up in the supplements.

The medication such as Sildenafil, which is the active ingredient in Viagra, can be dangerous, especially if the user has certain health problems.

"The problem with this ingredient is that it can have significant interactions with other medications," said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist at Hartford Hospital. 

Some men, who have taken unprescribed Viagra, have experienced dangerously low drops in blood pressure, or even a heart attack. It can also cause an erection lasting several hours that can become quite painful.

Doctors said the makers of the supplements use prescription-strength drugs to make them more potent, but that also makes them more risky.

"You really don't know what's in them," Johnson-Arbor said. "It's really buyer beware." 

Just last month, nine sexual enhancement supplements were flagged by the Food and Drug Administration and another two in the past week.

The FDA maintains a database of contaminated supplements, but doctors worry since they are only tested after complaints surface, not before they hit the market. 

Johnson-Arbor told Eyewitness News that supplements are not classified as a drug or a food, so the FDA doesn't really get involved until they start to get consumer complaints.

Eyewitness News asked how can something that can have such severe health risks be sold.

"There should be more regulation because people do have significant adverse effects," Johnson-Arbor said.

Hartford Hospital has seen several cases over the years. Patients are urged to see a doctor for any erectile disfunction problems, rather than buying supplements.

To learn more about the list of tainted supplements including supplements for other purposes such as weight loss or muscle building, click here

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