Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Sexy supplements can be bad for the heart

Heart Beat

Sexy supplements can be bad for the heart

One of the problems with so-called dietary supplements is that you don't always know what you're getting. That's the case for three "all natural" supplements peddled to improve sexual function "" True Man Sexual Energy Nutrient Capsules, Energy Max Supplement Men's Formula Capsules, and Encore Tabs. It turns out that they contain compounds that look and act like the active ingredients in Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis, three prescription medications taken by millions of men. These prescription drugs are known to interact with other medicines, especially nitroglycerin and other nitrates, to cause dangerously low blood pressure. Men who take them are warned about this interaction. No warning comes with the dietary supplements.

In late November 2007, the FDA ordered the three supplements off the market. Earlier warnings were issued about other sexual supplements, including Zimaxx, Libidus, Neophase, Nasutra, Vigor-25, Actra-Rx, 4EVERON, and Zencore.

The lesson here? "Natural" doesn't always mean safe. If you've bought one of these products, stop using it, ask for a refund, and let your doctor know.

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