The FDA Warns That These Popular Supplements Are Tainted With Rx Drugs

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It might be time to take a closer look at those dietary supplements you’ve been taking. The dietary supplement industry is notorious for lacking regulation, and according to a recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open, many supplement brands are hiding pharmaceutical drugs within their capsules.

According to the study, more than 750 supplement brands have been found to be tainted with drugs, and some of them contain two or more hidden drug ingredients. About 86 percent of the drugged-supplements studied were marketed for sexual enhancement or weight loss, and 12 percent were marketed for muscle building.

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To the researchers' surprise, the sexual supplements contained sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, while the weight-loss pills included sibutramine, which is a banned weight-loss drug. Additionally, the muscle-building supplements had synthetic steroids inside. Not only were these supplements tainted, but only 46% of the supplements were recalled and many are still sold at stores even after they had been recalled.

This poses a problem for consumers because hidden drugs could interact with other medications that someone is taking, or they could harm someone with current health conditions. Moreover, a 2015 study found that dietary supplements have been tied to 23,000 emergency room visits and 2,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year.

Want to avoid a trip to the ER? Always talk to your doctor before trying a new dietary supplement and make sure you're only purchasing from trusted brands.