(Memphis) We're on your side with a warning about what seems like a simple supplement for your love life that could have hidden dangers!
You can find them at every gas station, supplement store and, of course, online.
"I've also noticed newer things like those vaporizers, like cigarettes, they also make like e-liquids that go in them too for male enhancement," William McDonald said.
There's a growing market for products that often come in small packages, but promise big results.
"Anything that can enhance sexual performance is gonna be popular amongst the male population," said Dr. John Adams, a urologist, who heads up the Mid-South's Conrad Pearson Clinic.
Experts say the pills fronted by sexy pictures and funny names are really no laughing matter.
Dr. Adams said"The names are created to entice you to buy the product."
More importantly, he added, "They're taking a drug that they're thinking is one thing, but is actually something else."
The Food and Drug Administration calls it an "emerging trend" - over the counter products that are promoted as dietary supplements and actually contain hidden active ingredients.
The agency says it's increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for sexual enhancement.
Basically, the pills you get from the gas station are often laced with the real thing from prescription drugs like Viagra and Cialis.
"Now you're self medicating, just like you're taking someone else's prescription," explains Dr. Adams.
The On Your Side Investigators counted more than 50 public notices issued over the past three years about such products.
There are also plenty of warning letters and recalls.
Dr. Adams says he sees it all the time.
Patients, often embarrassed, want to bypass the physician and pharmacy.
They find a quick fix that seems to work, but could be dangerous.
"If it's just being laced, it's not a defined quantity that the patient's getting. You don't know how much risk they're at, or what's the maximum dose."
Guys run the risk of drug interactions with other prescriptions, particularly meds that lower blood pressure.
More importantly, Dr. Adams says true, erectile dysfunction is often a manifestation of a bigger health problem.
"Hypertension, diabetes, as well as many of the underlying diseases of the vascular system."
Which are serious, medical issues that could go untreated if the person's simply popping pills for sexual enhancement.
Dr. Adams said, "I would advise them against doing that."
Plus, there's no way to know where the pills are coming from.
Supplements sid step the FDA scrutiny prescriptions face.
WREG talked to local guys about the issue.
Andra Jackson said, "It could have been tested on a mouse for all I know and they're saying hey, take this pill!"
Guys of all ages we talked to say they liken the products to those promoted for weight loss.
"A lot of it has to do with we're such a microwave generation," Jackson said.
William McDonald said, "The stuff they sell over the counter is just gimmicks."
McDonald says he learned that first hand from working at a national supplement chain.
"They're just different herbs and blends and a lot of propaganda."
Dr. Adams has a message for anyone tempted to purchase the products.
"Do you really know what you're taking? Do you know you may be getting more than the label suggests?"
Speaking of labels, an FDA spokesperson says dietary supplements can make such claims as increased virility and stamina because those aren't drug claims, but they cannot claim to treat impotence, for example, because that's a medical condition.