FDA warning about male enhancement supplements

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a warning about supplements that claim to enhance male sexual performance. The FDA says some of those products are deceptive and potentially could even be deadly.

The FDA warns that 20 herbal supplements that claim to enhance male sexual performance actually contain prescription medication, the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis.

"It makes sense to  slip it in there from a marketing standpoint, but it is 100 percent illegal," says Dr. Frank Lovecchio with Banner Health Poison Control. "And it is just not ethical to do that." 

Lovecchio says it's also dangerous. "So patients normally get sick from  these medications, because it dilates your blood vessels, and dilating the vessels can lower blood pressure," he says. "The patients who are more susceptible are cardiac patients, or people with a heart history."

There have been cases of death when the active ingredient in Viagra interacts with heart medications.

But Dr. Lovecchio says it is often tough to track problems with supplements, and the government can only act on them once something goes wrong.

Despite the warnings, several products were still being offered for sale online, but Dr. Lovecchio says buyers need to beware. "The big problem with them is quality control, and you are not sure what is in the pill," he says.

But he says one thing is for sure: a miracle cure is not in there.

"Some of the drugs claim to enlarge your maleness, if you will, and there has never been a drug that can do that," he says.