Of the unapproved products, nearly 46 percent were marketed for sexual performance, 41 percent for weight loss and 12 percent for building muscle.
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“These products have the potential to cause severe adverse health effects owing to accidental misuse, overuse, or interaction with other medications, underlying health conditions, or other drugs within the same dietary supplement,” the authors wrote in a study.
The most common pharmaceutical ingredient found in the weight loss pills was sibutramine, a drug removed from the United States market in 2010 due to cardiovascular risks. Many of the muscle building products contained anabolic steroids, which can cause mental health problems as well as liver, kidney and heart issues if misused. And the sexual enhancement capsules had active ingredients found in erectile dysfunction medications, which lead to damage to the blood vessels if overused.
While the FDA can notify companies about unapproved ingredients in a product, the agency sometimes "faces several challenges in deterring fraudulent marketing of these types of products," according to CNN.
That’s why the authors believe “it is essential to further address this significant public health issue as the dietary supplement industry continues to grow in the United States,” the wrote.
Want to learn more about the study? Take a look at the full assessment here.
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