Active drugs found in supplements

Testing of unlicensed supplements that claim to boost sexual performance, and supplements that claim to help build muscle, shows that a significant number contain active prescription drugs.

Data reported by the US FDA reveals that 80% of adulterated sexual supplements contained sildenafil or a close analogue. Tadalafil and vardenafil were also detected. Synthetic steroids or steroid-like ingredients were identified in 89% of adulterated muscle-building products.

The adulterated products were mainly found by screening products being imported from overseas and from online outlets, but some were available from retail outlets.

According to the FDA, adulteration with active pharmaceutical ingredients does not happen by accident and poses a serious public health risk as consumers unknowingly ingest these drugs. Adulterated dietary supplements have the potential to cause adverse health effects both on their own and in combination with other medications an individual may be taking, it says.

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