Some advertisements appear too good to be true and the advertised products may also be unsafe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning earlier this month that almost 50 male enhancement or weight loss products may pose a significant health risk. These potentially dangerous and defective products can cause serious side effects and interact with medications or dietary supplements.

Continued sales

The FDA continues to find potentially dangerous products available for purchase from online marketplaces and retail stores despite its consumer warnings made for similar products over the past decade. Online retail sites included Amazon and eBay.

The FDA purchased 26 products from Amazon and 20 of 25 products from eBay that contained undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients. Undeclared active ingredients uncovered by the FDA’s testing laboratory included sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, sibutramine, desmethylsibutramine, phenolphthalein and fluoxetine.  Some of these are active ingredients for FDA-approved prescription drugs which can only be used under a licensed health professional’s supervision.

The FDA purchased many products from Amazon and eBay with names that are identical or like tainted products that were in earlier FDA consumer warnings. Some of the Amazon products were offered under the designation Amazon Choice or #1 Best Seller, according to the FDA.

Federal law prohibits products with undeclared drug ingredients. Typically, these products are unapproved new drugs or adulterated dietary supplements. These are considered misbranded by the FDA because their ingredients are not accurately reflected on the products’ labels.


Consumers may use the FDA’s tainted products database which identifies 1,000 potentially unsafe products. Unfortunately, however, the FDA is unable to test and identify all products with potentially harmful and hidden ingredients.

Consumers should be cautious about using certain products even if they are not included in the FDA’s database. These products are advertised for sexual enhancement, weight loss. bodybuilding, sleep aids or pain relief. Products that offer immediate or fast results and that make claims that appear too good to be true are suspicious.

Consumers should speak to a health professional before using any over the counter product advertised for sexual enhancement, weight loss, bodybuilding or marked as a dietary supplement for pain relief. These products may interact with medications and dietary supplements.

Consumers, in addition to consulting with their health providers, should seek information from other reliable sources besides the product’s seller. Consumers and health care practitioners may report any unfavorable effects to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

An attorney can research products and determine they are unsafe and the manufacturer’s liability. With legal representation, an injured consumer can seek compensation and damages.