The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on the makers of supposedly “all-natural” dietary supplements because many of them are laced with prescription drugs. In a new analysis by Consumer Reports, “Vitamins and Supplements: 10 Dangers That May Surprise You,” the most frequent violators are makers of supplements aimed to enhance male sexual performance.
Daniel Fabricant, director of the FDA's Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, told Consumer Reports that most problems with supplements aren't even reported to the federal agency. But the FDA has gotten complaints that consumers have died or suffered strokes, acute liver injuries, kidney failure and blood clots in the lungs because of supplements tainted with prescription drugs. Ironically, many people choose supplements touted as “all natural” because they are trying to avoid those very side effects associated with certain prescription drugs – unknowingly ingesting those drugs, Consumer Reports said.
Fabricant said dietary supplements with hidden amounts of prescription drugs are “the largest threat” to consumers. Consumer Reports found such drugs as sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and sibutramine (Meridia, a weight-loss drug taken off the market) showing up unlabeled on many supplements.