Dangerous Cup o' Joe? Aphrodisiac Coffee Receives FDA Warning

"Sildenafil taken at high doses can cause prolonged erection, penile scarring and in women, this could cause clitoral and vaginal engorgement and a lot of pain," Boyle said.

As with Viagra, if this substance were taken at the same time as nitroglycerine (a heart disease medicine), it could cause death due to a rapid drop in blood pressure, she said.

The "active ingredients" listed on the website -- horny goat weed, goji berry and ginseng -- are used in many supplements and have not created a problem with the FDA in the past, said Dr. Andre Guay, head of the Lahey Clinic Sexual Dysfunction Center in Peabody, Mass.

"This must be a specific sildenafil -like effect to get the FDA's dander up," he said.

Sulfoaildenafil is not listed among the ingredients on the company's website.

"I'm appalled that the company hasn't followed the FDA's suggestion to recall," Boyle said. "They're not being honest about what's in the product, which is scary."

Safe Shopping for OTC Sex Help

Given the numerous FDA recalls on products marketed as sexual enhancers, should these types of herbal supplements be avoided altogether?

Because most over-the-counter aphrodisiacs or sexual enhancers are not regulated for safety, drug purity and efficacy by the FDA, Boyle said, it's important to be cautious when using them.

"I warn my patients that with anything on the Internet making large claims of success -- these claims are probably not true, because if they were true, we'd be prescribing it," she said.

It's a "tricky business" with herbal supplements because without strict regulation, they can have potentially harmful impurities, Guay said.

While the FDA does extend some of its regulatory power over supplements, the agency uses a different set of rules with these products than it does with prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) maintains that a supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. In general, however, manufacturers need not register their products with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling them.

"These things, even those from nature, can be bad for you," he said.

If consumers want to try something herbal for sexual dysfunction or loss of libido, Boyle said she suggests trying individual ingredients, not blends, as they tend to contain unknown amounts of many substances, some of which can be potentially harmful.

"DHEA, a precursor to testosterone, and the herb Yohimbine are not very effective but they are tested and safe, so at least they're not going to be harmful. Beyond that, I don't really suggest herbal supplements for this," Boyle said.

Though Magic Power Coffee will remain on the market for the time being, its alleged sexual buzz is not be worth the risk, she said.

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