The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Thursday, December 17 that almost 50 dietary supplements being sold on Amazon and eBay contain active pharmaceutical ingredients, as well as some prescription drugs. But such details are not declared on the label and this could pose a serious risk to the consumers, said the federal agency.

FDA regulates dietary supplements in the US. The agency purchased and tested weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements available on both websites. Later, they found that these products contain a variety of dangerous drugs that could cause serious side effects or interact with medications or supplements an individual is already taking. Even though the federal law states that a dietary supplement must state the product's ingredient on the label and they cannot contain drugs, in the case of these health products, such details are missing.

Tablets
FDA issues warning after testing health products sold on online marketplaces Pixabay

Donald D. Ashley, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said that the federal agency has engaged in discussions with online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay regarding such issues. "We believe they can do more to protect consumers from these fraudulent and potentially dangerous products", it said.

Avoid the Supplements

FDA recently tested 26 products purchased by the agency on Amazon and 20 other products they bought on eBay. As per their finding, the FDA noticed that all these products contain undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients.

The ingredients found in the supplements include sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). FDA also noticed the presence of sibutramine, an appetite suppressant; desmethylsibutramine, an analog of sibutramine, and fluoxetine (Prozac). The agency is now urging consumers to avoid the supplements it cited.

In the news release, the FDA stated that many of these are active ingredients for use in agency-approved prescription drugs, which are restricted to use under the supervision of licensed health care professionals. Many of these products purchased on Amazon were designated on their listings as "#1 Best Seller" and "Amazon's Choice", which is a badge is given to highly rated and well-priced products on the platform.

Online marketplace
Amazon and eBay

A consumer should exercise caution about using supplements marketed for sexual enhancement, bodybuilding, weight loss, and more. If someone is considering buying such products online, they should talk to a doctor or a healthcare professional. If someone experiences an adverse effect after using such products, the FDA asked consumers to file a report about what happened with the agency.