WASHINGTON, DC -- Some dietary supplements for weight loss and bodybuilding may have undeclared or deceptively labeled ingredients, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The substances include the active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs or closely related drugs, or other compounds, such as novel synthetic steroids that do not qualify as dietary ingredients.
In recent years, the FDA has alerted consumers about nearly 300 tainted products marketed as dietary supplements and received numerous complaints of injury associated with these products.
“These tainted products can cause serious adverse effects, including strokes, organ failure and death,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a release. “The manufacturers selling these tainted products are operating outside the law.”
The FDA has noted the three most common categories of these illegal products are:
“The labeling of these tainted products may claim that they are ‘alternatives’ to FDA-approved drugs, or ‘legal’ alternatives to anabolic steroids,” said Michael Levy, director of the Division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Consumers should avoid products marketed as supplements that claim to have effects similar to prescription drugs. Consumers should also be wary of products with labeling only in a foreign language or that are marketed through mass e-mails.”
The FDA now has a new rapid public notification system (RSS feed) on its website to quickly warn about these products.