Swedish agency comes down hard on unlisted pharmas in libido-boosting supplements

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Swedish food and medical agencies warn on food supplements claiming to boost libido after tests revealed unlabelled pharma ingredients
Swedish food and medical agencies warn on food supplements claiming to boost libido after tests revealed unlabelled pharma ingredients

Related tags Pharmacology

The Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) says nearly 70% of ‘sexual potency’ food supplements it tested contained unlisted pharmaceutical ingredients.

The MPA tested 13 food supplemented on sale in sex shops in Sweden and found nine of them contained undeclared drugs – some of which could have serious side effects for some people. It will be publishing a full report of the investigation project by the end of the year.

In the meantime, the Swedish National Food Agency(NFA) echoed its warning and urged local authorities to investigate the sale of the brands mentioned - Man Power, POWERcaps, Vita Gra, Cupidra, POWER strips, Maximum, Desire, POWERtabs and Gold Max  – and remove the products from circulation where possible.

It reiterated that it was illegal to sell food products - which dietary supplements are - with pharmaceutical ingredients.

Sex shop investigation

It was now working to find other retailers selling the brands, and to determine where the products came from. The stores where the samples were purchased have been contacted with the results of the analysis. Both agencies asked consumers to hand any products already purchased into their local pharmacy.

NFA inspector Joakim Meuller Bäckman said the risk to consumers was obvious given they were likely to believe the products were “harmless”​, and were unaware of the hidden medical ingredients.

Not on the list

Some of the products contained tadalafil or sildenafil - approved drugs for impotence with possible implications for the efficacy of other medicines taken simultaneously. The authorities warned the two may cause severe hypotension in people who take certain drugs for angina. Sildenafil was one of the undeclared pharma ingredients found in weight loss herbals​by Dutch authorities in October. In the UK this summer a man was jailed for 16 weeks for selling so called ‘herbal viagra' pills​, which actually contained dangerously high levels of tadalafil and sibutramine. 

Another product contained the substance dapoxetine, a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) approved in Sweden as a drug treatment for premature ejaculation.

However, it wasn’t just male libido-boosting products that were flagged in the tests. One product claiming to increase women's sex drive was found to covertly contain flibanserin. The medical agency said this was currently “under development”​ as a drug treatment, with some studies pointing to side effects of fatigue, dizziness and nausea. 

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