The vitamin and supplement industries loom large in the U.S. American consumers spent nearly $31 billion on things like multivitamins, minerals, workout supplements, and more in 2018 alone. Although most of these products aren’t approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat, cure, or alleviate the symptoms of illnesses or diseases—or to have any effect on health whatsoever—people still buy them for their touted effects.

“What’s the harm?” many people ask themselves when shopping in the vitamin and supplement aisle of their local grocery stores and pharmacies. Unfortunately, there IS potential harm in taking those tablets and capsules. In addition to being at risk for many of the same dangers in prescription and OTC medications, vitamins and supplements also may contain ingredients that aren’t listed on their labels.

When people take supplements that contain undeclared ingredients, they aren’t getting the entire picture of what’s contained in them, and neither are their doctors. Many of those undeclared ingredients can react negatively with certain types of medications, or they can aggravate or impact existing health problems.

For example, the FDA’s website shows that a male supplement was recalled in mid-March 2020 because it contained undeclared tadalafil—the active ingredient in prescription Cialis. Cialis is an erectile dysfunction medication that shouldn’t be taken by people who currently use nitrates or who are at high risk of heart attack and stroke, but those people may unknowingly take the supplement due to that ingredient not being listed on its packaging.

That’s just one example among many. When purchasing vitamins or supplements, always research the brand and the specific product you’re thinking about buying to find out if it has been recalled or if it contains undeclared ingredients. And as always, if you or someone you love was harmed by a drug, the drug injury lawyers at Ferrer Poirot Feller Daniel are here to help.