In the ongoing game of catch me if you can, these products have been caught.

Touted as “all natural” and labeled as dietary supplements, the reality is that Blue Steel and Hero products do not qualify as dietary supplements because they contain undeclared and unapproved substances that are similar in chemical structure to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra — the FDA-approved prescription drug for erectile dysfunction.

According to the FDA, consumers should not assume that they are harmless and pose no health risk.

The undeclared ingredients in these products may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs (such as nitroglycerin), and can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates, and erectile dysfunction is a common problem in men with these medical conditions.

3/27/08 19:01 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.