The insane price of herbal supplements? Six drugs, no herbs.


A food supplement enriched with a real prescription drug? It’s about as interesting as nightfall after sunset. But it’s not every day that you see a supplement fortified with more than one drug and far less frequent when there is six drugs present (in a bottle of whatever is supposed to be “natural” and “drug-free.)” This takes a rare level of diligence.

So, it shouldn’t be surprising that if you stuff enough erectile dysfunction drugs, FDA approved or not, into a capsule, odds are Lord Hardwicke is going to experience some sort of physiological response. And that is exactly why Ata International Inc. has crushed by the FDA for selling junk called BLUEFUSION Capsules. You can’t buy it on Amazon more, so here’s what the bottle looks like. I may have taken some liberty with the label.

What must have been in the bottle? Who knows? We do not care? But here’s what was found – a collection of two drugs approved for erectile dysfunction (ED), two more that work by the same mechanism, and two more that are there for one reason or another. (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The chemical structures of the six drugs found in the vials of BLUEFUSION. Note that the three drugs in the left column are structurally similar analogues.

What is all this and why was it in the bottle?

What’s most surprising about this business is that someone who really knew what they were doing (more or less) made this concoction. It makes sense that at least four of them are in there. Here are the drugs detected:

  1. Sildenafil – the generic name for Viagra, a vasodilator that works by inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme. This results in increased blood flow to the penis.
  2. Tadalafil – the generic name for Cialis. Cialis works by the same mechanism as Viagra, but it has a different structure.
  3. Desmethyl carbodenafil – This is an interesting choice. Desmethyl carbodenafil is a very close structural analogue of sildenafil. Any medical chemist would examine its structure and conclude that they would like Viagra very much. This medicine has already been used to spike products. The subtly named Stiff Bull Herbal Coffee was recalled by the FDA in 2016 because it contained the drug.

  4. Dithiodesmethyl carbodenafil – Same thing. A structurally similar analogue of Viagra. This drug has also been used before; it was found in a libido enhancing supplement called Apollo +, which was recalled by the Finnish Food Safety Authority (who knew?) in 2015.

  5. I don’t know why Scutellarin or Daidzein were in the bottle. Maybe the rats at the factory spilled some bottles.

Should you take a theoretical herbal remedy for erectile dysfunction? The worst organization chart in the world.

First, let’s create a reasonable facsimile of a hypothetical dietary supplement and give it a typical name.

Woodrow zipper®. It would be better if there were rave reviews in the comments section. Do you know how long it took me for these two phallic structures to look correct ???

Now let’s take a look at what might be the worst flowchart in the world and see if it helps us rationally determine if Zipper Buster® should be used by men who may need a little extra help in the bag.

What this flowchart is supposed to convey (and fails miserably) is the following logic:

  • Does Zipper Buster contain a bunch of stupid herbs or a known pharmacologically active drug? If it contains the medicine, it will work. If it doesn’t, it won’t.
  • Should you take what works (left side of the board)? If it’s an unapproved drug, no. It’s dangerous. If it contains an approved drug, the answer is always no. The dose and purity are unknown. It is also dangerous. And drugs like Viagra can make your whole body permanently stiff if taken with certain blood pressure medications.
  • Advantage: It will probably work. High risk
  • Verdict:

On the right side of the table is when the bottle contains only the herb – no medicine added. Should we take this?

  • Will this do anything for you ED? No.
  • It may or may not be safe since no one really knows what’s in it.
  • No benefit, unknown risk.
  • Verdict:

The people who run Ata International Inc. should be ashamed of themselves. Hopefully they will receive a hefty penalty.

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