FDA is Warning Consumers to Avoid Nearly 50 OTC Supplements

December 18, 2020
Sara Karlovitch Assistant Editor

The supplements, which claimed to primarily for weight loss and male enhancement, contained unlisted drug ingredients.

The FDA is warning consumers not to use nearly 50 supplements for weight loss or male enhancement. These supplements have been found to contain hidden ingredients that may post a significant health risk.

The FDA has issued warnings about similar products numerous times over the past decade. However, the agency continues to find potentially dangerous products for sale in online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, as well in retail stores.

The FDA purchased 26 supplements from Amazon and another 25 supplements from eBay. Many of these products have names that are the same or similar to tainted products that have been the subject of previous FDA warnings. According to the FDA, all of the products purchased from Amazon and 80% of those purchased from eBay contained undeclared active ingredients such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, and others. Many of the active ingredients identified were restricted to use under the supervision of a licensed health care professional.

The FDA found that many of these affected products were designated as an “Amazon Choice” or “#1 Best Seller.” However, according to the FDA, products sold with undeclared drug ingredients violate federal law.

“Protecting the health and safety of Americans is the FDA’s highest priority, and we will remain vigilant and communicate about products and companies that place US consumers at risk,” said Donald D. Ashley, JD, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in a prepared statement. “While the FDA has engaged in discussions with online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay regarding these issues in the past, we believe they can do more to protect consumers from these fraudulent and potentially dangerous products. We continue to urge stores, websites and online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, to take appropriate steps to protect the American public by not selling or facilitating the sale of illegal FDA-regulated products.”

Consumers using or who are considering using OTC substances marketed for sexual enhancement, bodybuilding, weight loss, or pain relief should first consult their health care provider. Additionally, they should consult the FDA’s tainted product database to view the nearly 1000 products the FDA has determined to be potentially dangerous.

REFERENCE

FDA Warns Consumers to Avoid Certain Male Enhancement and Weight Loss Products Sold Through Amazon, eBay and Other Retailers Due to Hidden, Potentially Dangerous Drug Ingredients [news release] December 17, 2020; Silver Spring, MD. Accessed December 17, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-warns-consumers-avoid-certain-male-enhancement-and-weight-loss-products-sold-through-amazon-ebay