Caution Consumers: Honey-based or Honey-flavored Syrup Products May Pose Health Risk
Don’t Fall for False Claims
When you’re browsing, one of the best ways to protect yourself from fake, and even possibly harmful, products is asking whether a claim sounds too good to be true, or if it contradicts what you’ve heard from reputable sources.
On July 12, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted warning letters to companies that are violating federal law by selling products marketed as food which contain undisclosed or hidden prescription medication. These products are labeled as honey with herbal ingredients and are marketed with claims to treat disease or improve health.
These products are promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various websites and online marketplaces, and possibly in some retail stores. If you are struggling with sexual performance issues, you may have a physical condition that is keeping your body from responding as it normally would. Talk openly with your health care professional before considering any treatments.
The Real Danger
With some products, you cannot just read the label and trust what’s inside.
The real danger might be what’s not listed on these product labels – hidden prescription drugs that can put your health at risk, or even kill you.
The FDA is finding an increasing number of illegally marketed, adulterated honey-based or honey-flavored syrup products that test positive for active drug ingredients not listed on the label.
The FDA’s laboratory testing found that product samples contained active prescription drug ingredients not listed on the product labels, including the active drug ingredients found in Cialis (tadalafil) and Viagra (sildenafil), which are FDA-approved drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil and tadalafil are restricted to use under the supervision of a licensed health care professional. These undeclared ingredients may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and they may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates.
Additionally, since companies label these products as foods or dietary supplements and sell them illegally, they are not subject to the same approval process and quality standards as medications you get from your doctor.
The Bottom Line
Why should you be wary of honey-based or honey-flavored syrup “sexual enhancement” products?
- The hidden active drug ingredients in these products can present significant health risks to patients with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease.
- You may be consuming a product that can have severe interactions with other medications you take. Never assume these products will mix safely with your prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
- The dose of the undisclosed ingredient, which may be a drug, is not controlled. Some products contain only a small percentage of a normal prescription dose, while others contain multiple times the typical dose.
- In addition to the safety concerns, there is no medical proof that consuming this type of honey with herbs will provide any sexual enhancement or other claimed benefits.
Report a Problem
The FDA wants to hear from you if you have an unexpected reaction from an FDA-regulated product or suspect unlawful sales of medical products online. If you want to make a report or discuss a specific question, FDA pharmacists are available to help you use medications safely.
The FDA warned consumers about hundreds of products with hidden ingredients not listed on the label, many of which have sexual enhancement claims. Additionally, the agency issued warning letters and stopped products from being imported into the U.S. by immediately detaining them upon entry. The FDA may also pursue other civil or criminal enforcement actions against those who continue to break the law.