Many Dietary Supplements Tainted With Drug Ingredients

Nearly 800 dietary supplements contained unapproved drug ingredients study finds

Nearly 800 dietary supplements contained unapproved drug ingredients study finds

The findings suggest that about 80% of the dietary supplements were contaminated by one drug that should not have been in the product and 20% contained at least two such drugs. The majority of the products included were marketed for sexual enhancement (45.5 percent), weight loss (40.9 percent), or muscle building (11.9 percent).

Importance Over half of adults in the United States report consuming dietary supplements.

And here's the database where you can see which supplements are on the FDA's naughty list - but be warned, the list only includes a small fraction of the potentially hazardous products with hidden ingredients marketed to consumers on the internet and in retail establishments, notes the FDA.

They also noted that another study found that 23,000 emergency visits per year are due to supplements.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from an FDA database on dietary supplements tainted with pharmaceuticals that had been identified by the agency from 2007 to 2016.

Numerous tainted supplements analysed in the study contained sildenafil (the active ingredient of Viagra) to boost their powers of sexual enhancement. Among them, dapoxetine, an antidepressant that is not approved in the United States, and sibutramine, which was included in some weight-loss supplements but was banned from the US market in 2010 because of cardiovascular risks.

In an analysis of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, researchers of a new study published in JAMA Network Open found that almost 800 dietary supplements were found to be adulterated with unapproved drugs.

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Numerous weightloss products, meanwhile, contained appetite suppressant sibutramine, which has been withdrawn from sale across the globe after studies linked the drug with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Dietary supplements aren't regulated like pharmaceutical drugs, so that means they shouldn't contain pharmaceutical drugs. Of the 776 supplements that were identified to contain hidden ingredients, the FDA requested voluntary recall of less than half (46.4 per cent), and of that amount, only 334 recalls actually happened.

Pieter A. Cohen, Associate Professor at the Harvard University, said that FDA discovered 746 adulterated supplements. Officials with the FDA are cracking down on e-cigarette companies and warning that some products could be removed from the market, The Hill reported.

Though the FDA "has other enforcement tools at its disposal", the new study is consistent with previous research showing "major deficiencies in the FDA's regulation of supplements", wrote Cohen, who was not involved in this study.

FDA spokeswoman Lindsay Haake wrote in an email that "the FDA recognizes the seriousness of this problem and continues to act within its resources and authorities to address this problem as best it can".

Supplements spiked with drugs pose a number of health risk to consumers - the drugs might interact with other medications that a person is taking; or they may be unsafe for people with certain health conditions. The FDA has also found that distributors often re-label products to evade detection. Some of the drugs found, like steroids, stimulants and anti-depressants, can have serious adverse effects, causing symptoms issues that medical professionals wouldn't suspect a supplement of causing.

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