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Lamar Odom Collapse Linked To Herbal Viagra Pills: What To Know About This Sexual Enhancement Supplement

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Sexual enhancement pills have come under fire once again following the collapse of NBA and reality TV star Lamar Odom in a Nevada brothel last Tuesday, Oct. 13, due to reports saying he took “sexual performance enhancer supplements.”

According to a 911 call released by the Nye County sheriff department a day after the incident, Odom took cocaine and up to 10 of the male enhancement pills. Two employees of the Love Ranch Vegas mentioned that he took “Reload; 72-hour strong; sexual performance enhancer for men.”

Odom remains in a coma at the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas while the spotlight is once again on these sexual enhancers dubbed as “herbal Viagra.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in 2013 against purchasing Reload because it contains sildenafil, Viagra’s active ingredient, as an undeclared component. Sildenafil may have a dangerous interaction with other drugs particularly nitrates, or those taken by male diabetes or heart disease patients.

Viagra, an FDA-approved medication for treating erectile dysfunction, has spurred many over-the-counter supplements claiming to be “herbal” or “all natural.” These supplements are neither FDA-approved nor always reveal their complete ingredient list.

FDA’s consumer alert early this month presented data from lab tests, showing almost 300 of these products contain undisclosed pharmaceutical ingredients. These hidden ingredients can include the same active ones found in drugs Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, posing dosage and ingredient mix issues if the patient is taking other prescriptions.

The regulatory agency advised the public to be wary of alternative sexual enhancement products that:

- Offer results in 30 to 40 minutes
- Claim they are FDA-approved
- Are sold in single servings
- Advertise via spam or unsolicited mails
- Have labels primarily shown in a foreign language
- Show directions and warnings imitating those of legitimate FDA-approved products

In a statement accompanying the consumer update, FDA’s national health fraud coordinator Gary Coody said more and more of these products are sold online and in retail shops.

“We’ve seen pills, coffees, chewing gum and dissolvable oral strips that contain hidden drug ingredients or untested chemicals,” he said.

Pieter Cohen, Harvard Medical School assistant professor, said the combination of the current laws and deficient regulatory action from the FDA “have left dangerous products on store shelves.”

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 rules that the FDA must prove that something is unsafe before it can act by restricting access to the product or removing it from store shelves.

Nutritional supplements include vitamins and minerals, herbal blends and protein powders – all deemed as food and presumed safe and all-natural unless proven otherwise. Supplement industry groups have called on the FDA to better enforce the law using its authorities in place.

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