Quezon City. As Valentine’s Day nears, the EcoWaste Coalition warned that some unauthorized products for sexual enhancement and energy may contain undeclared ingredients and may pose serious health risks.
Echoing the advice of health authorities from the USA, Canada and the Philippines, the toxics watchdog group urged consumers to refrain from buying and using such products that have not passed quality and safety verifications.
Marketed as capsules, pills, cream, gel, oil or food supplements to boost sexual drive and performance, including erectile function, these products can be obtained easily from online sellers, ambulant sidewalk vendors, and from stores selling herbal supplements and Chinese medicines.
These products, for instance, are openly sold on the sidewalks of Rizal Avenue (between Carriedo Street and Recto Avenue) and Raon pedestrian overpass in Quezon Boulevard in Manila.
According to the article “Tainted Sexual Enhancement and Energy Products” published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of these products have been found to contain “hidden ingredients,” including ingredients used in prescription drugs.
“These products may cause potentially serious side effects and may interact with medications or dietary supplements a consumer is taking. Consumers should use caution when considering purchasing these types of products,” the US FDA said.
To inform consumers, the US FDA has so far issued 429 public notifications from May 2012 to January 2024 listing “potentially dangerous” sexual enhancement products containing undisclosed drug ingredients. “Enforcement actions and consumer advisories for tainted products only cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market,” the agency said.
Health Canada, on the other hand, has published 216 advisories on unauthorized sexual enhancement products from March 2023 to January 2024. These products can pose many health dangers, according to the agency, because “they may contain ingredients not listed on the label” or “the label may indicate a dangerous ingredient or combination of ingredients.”
Based on tests conducted by Health Canada, these products were found to contain undeclared drugs, including acetaminophen, levodopa, prasterone, sildenafil, tadalafil, yohimbe and other similar substances.
In the Philippines, the FDA has issued public health warnings against unregistered “food supplements for men.”
In one advisory issued in June 2023, the FDA found one food supplement positive for tadalafil, a prescription drug for treating impotence or erectile dysfunction and is prohibited in food supplements as it poses potential health risks to users, especially to individuals with heart, kidney, stomach, bleeding, and blood cell problems, and those with low or high blood pressure.
Health authorities in the USA, Canada and the Philippines have advised consumers to stop taking unauthorized or unregistered sexual health products, and to consult a health care professional if they have used such products and have health concerns.