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FDA Warns of ED Drugs Hidden in Honey-Based Sex Supplements

Cialis and Viagra may cause health complications or death when used without supervision

FDA warns of dangers in honey sexual supplements
pinstock; s-cphoto/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning against purchasing or consuming a variety of honey-based products sold as herbal sexual enhancements after the agency discovered that they contain prescription drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

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The FDA found tadalafil (Cialis) and sildenafil (Viagra) in the affected products. The ingredients were not printed on the product label. Both drugs have been approved by the FDA but are supposed to be available only by prescription; taking them without a doctor’s supervision can cause health risks and even death. Tadalafil and sildenafil may interact with nitrates such as nitroglycerin or with other drugs often used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.​

“Tainted honey-based products like these are dangerous because consumers are likely unaware of the risks associated with the hidden prescription drug ingredients in these products and how they may interact with other drugs and supplements they may take,” Judy McMeekin, FDA associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

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“Tainted honey-based products like these are dangerous because consumers are likely unaware of the risks associated with the hidden prescription drug ingredients in these products and how they may interact with other drugs and supplements they may take,” Judy McMeekin, FDA associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

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The tainted products ​

The FDA sent warning letters to four companies that sell the products and issued public notifications of 17 honey-based products that contain tadalafil or sildenafil. The items were sold at several online retailers, including Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Walmart.

The agency believes that they may have also been sold in some retail stores.​ The companies have 15 business days to tell the FDA how they will address the issue or explain why they did not violate the law. Meanwhile, the FDA has blocked imports of the products.​

On July 13, Shopaax.com recalled all lots of its Kingdom Honey Royal Honey VIP because it contains sildenafil. Consumers should immediately stop using the product and may return it for a full refund.

What consumers should do 

• One of the best ways to protect yourself from a fake or harmful product is to ask yourself if a claim sounds too good to be true, the FDA states.

​• Speak openly with your physician before considering any treatment.

​• Be aware that these products were illegally sold as foods or dietary supplements and don’t undergo the same approval process and quality standards as medications. ​

• The dose of the undisclosed ingredients is not controlled. Some products may contain a small percentage of a normal prescription dose, but others may contain a significantly higher amount.

​• There is no medical proof that consuming this type of honey with herbs will provide any sexual enhancement or other claimed benefits.

​• Anyone who has an unexpected reaction or experiences quality problems with the use of any product should stop using it immediately and contact their health care provider. The FDA also encourages consumers to report a problem to the agency or if they suspect unlawful sales of medical products online. If you make a report or want to discuss a specific question, FDA pharmacists are available to help you use your medications safely.​

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