Published: September 2010

Adulterated erectile dysfunction products: on the rise in New Zealand

Prescriber Update 31(3): 20
September 2010

Products marketed in New Zealand as 'herbal' supplements for erectile dysfunction and sexual performance are increasingly being found to contain undeclared prescription medicines.

Since July 2009 Medsafe has identified 29 products that claim to be naturally derived to enhance sexual performance that have been adulterated with prescription medicines such as the PDE5 inhibitors: sildenafi l, tadalafil, and vardenafi l. In some cases products have been adulterated with a combination of PDE5 inhibitors.

Adulterated erectile dysfunction products have been found being sold in pharmacies, sex shops, herbal remedy stores and through New Zealand based internet sites. Brand names include So Hard for Men, Pulse8 for Women, The Rock, Stallion, and Volcanic.

Doses contained in these products vary considerably and are commonly either within the therapeutic range or above recommended doses. A product identified as adulterated was recently found to contain 25mg of tadalafil with additional tadalafil and sildenafil within the gelatine capsule shell. The maximum recommended dose of tadalafil (Cialis®) is 20mg per day.

Although erectile dysfunction supplements are the most commonly identified as being adulterated, supplements for weight loss have also been found to contain sibutramine and phenolphthalein.

Healthcare professionals are advised to warn their patients about the dangers of using these supplements due to the risk that they may contain undeclared ingredients. It is also worth considering that your patient may be taking an adulterated product if they are experiencing unexplained symptoms or adverse reactions.

Please contact the Medsafe Compliance Management Team on Ph: (04) 819 6800 if you are suspicious that a product may have been adulterated.