The US Food and Drug Administration is warning men that "Rhino" products promising better sex may pose serious health risks.
Since 2007, the FDA has identified more than 25 products marketed with variations of the name Rhino that contained hidden drug ingredients, the agency reported.
The FDA has received reports of chest pain, severe headaches and prolonged erections after taking a Rhino male enhancement product. Some men have been hospitalised due to extreme drops in blood pressure.
"Over the past few years, the FDA has been combating the retail sale of male enhancement drug products that are frequently misrepresented as dietary supplements and that contain hidden and potentially harmful active drug ingredients," said Donald Ashley in an agency news release. He's the compliance director in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The unapproved products are sold at gas stations and convenience stores, on websites such as eBay and Amazon, and have been found in international mail shipments to the United States.
They are marketed under names such as Platinum Rhino 25000, Krazzy Rhino 25000 and Gold Rhino 25000, and are often sold in single-serving package sizes.
The FDA said Rhino products contain undeclared ingredients that are the same as or structurally similar to active ingredients in prescription drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Dangerously low blood pressure
For example, some contain sildenafil and/or tadalafil, the active ingredients in the prescription drugs Viagra and Cialis, respectively. These undeclared ingredients are phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, which can pose significant health risks, the agency said.
When these ingredients interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, they can cause dangerously low blood pressure. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease often take nitrates.
"Distributing unapproved drugs, disguised as supplements, places the US public health at risk," Ashley noted.
If you use any product marketed as a dietary supplement, talk to your health care practitioner about possible interactions with medications or other supplements you take, the FDA advised.
Product claims that sound too good to be true likely are. Search for information about a product on non-commercial sites instead of relying on information provided by sellers, the agency recommended.
Image credit: iStock