May 23, 2008 / 7:38 PM / 11 years ago

Warning issued over unlicensed sex drugs

A customs officer presents illegally imported virility drugs during the annual news conference of the customs duty office at Frankfurt Airport March 21, 2007. REUTERS/Alex Grimm

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadians should avoid unlicensed drugs that claim to improve sexual performance because they could cause problems such as loss of consciousness, prolonged erections and chest pain, the health ministry said on Friday.

Health Canada issued the warning in a release about a product called Desire, which was found to contain the prescription drug phentolamine — something not indicated on the label.

“Health Canada advises consumers not to use Desire or any other unauthorized products promoted to increase sexual performance that are advertised as ‘all natural’, as such products may contain undeclared prescription drugs that may pose serious risks to health,” it said in a statement.

Phentolamine is used in the prevention and control of high blood pressure in patients with adrenal tumors.

“Use of phentolamine by patients with heart disease can potentially result in serious cardiac side-effects such as low blood pressure, chest pain and abnormal heartbeat,” said Health Canada.

“Other side-effects may include dizziness, loss of consciousness, prolonged erection, headache, flushing, nasal congestion, indigestion and abdominal pain.”

Health Canada said it was taking steps to ensure Desire — which it said could be on sale across Canada and over the Internet — was removed from the marketplace.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson

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