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Posted December 19, 2020

FDA Finds Unapproved Drugs in Many Weight Loss and Sexual Enhancement Products Sold Online

On December 18, 2020, the FDA warned consumers that certain products promoted for weight loss, body building, sexual enhancement, pain relief, sleep, and other uses because may contain harmful ingredients.

According to the news release, the agency recently purchased and tested over 50 weight loss and male enhancement products sold on Amazon, eBay and other websites, and found that nearly all of them (26 out of 26 from Amazon and 20 out of 25 from eBay) contained undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, sibutramine, desmethylsibutramine, phenolphthalein and fluoxetine. These drugs are found in FDA-approved prescription medications and are not approved to be used in over-the-counter dietary supplements. The FDA warned that products that contain unapproved drugs are illegal and potentially dangerous to consumers, and they often are promoted with unsubstantiated claims that they can treat or prevent diseases like cancer, HIV, and COVID-19.

The FDA publishes and updates lists of products that are found to contain unapproved ingredients. Below are the 46 weight loss and sexual enhancement products that the FDA logged on December 17, 2020. Use each link to read the full public notification.

Tainted Weight Loss Products:

See ConsumerLab's Review of Weight Loss Supplements for tests of related products.

Tainted Sexual Enhancement Products:

See ConsumerLab's Review of Sexual Enhancer Supplements for tests of related products.

The FDA also maintains lists of other supplements found to be tainted, including Body Building Products, Arthritis/Pain Products, and Sleep Aid Products.

See ConsumerLab's Reviews of Nitric Oxide Supplements for Bodybuilding and Melatonin Supplements, as well as the CL Answer Which supplements can help with arthritis? for more information.

The FDA provided tips for purchasing products online safely, including:

  • Avoid any product listed in the FDA's Public Notifications

  • Be wary about supplements that are promoted to prevent or treat serious illnesses, including claims in reviews from users on websites like Amazon

  • Avoid products that have similar names to those listed in the Public Notifications

  • Do not use products that are sold in one- or two-capsule packages that promise immediate results

  • Talk to a doctor before using a product for weight loss, sexual enhancement, bodybuilding, arthritis, or sleep

  • Check BeSafeRx for more information from the FDA on purchasing medicine online

Consumers and healthcare providers are encouraged to report any adverse reactions to the FDA's MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Program.

For more information, use the link below.

Weight Loss, Male Enhancement and Other Products Sold Online or in Stores May Be Dangerous

See related warnings:

Red-E Male Enhancement Capsule Recalled

FTC Sends Refund Checks to Consumers of Unproven Weight Loss and Sexual Enhancement Supplements

Men's Enhancement Supplement Recalled

Weight Supplement Contains Hidden Drug

Federal Court Shuts Down Two Supplement Companies Selling Weight, Joint Health and Other Supplements