The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning this week to an e-cigarette company that it says sold vaping e-liquid products containing the active ingredients in erectile dysfunction drugs Cialis and Viagra.
The FDA gave China-based HelloCig Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. 15 days to address concerns that some of its products were “unapproved new drugs” being sold in the United States, the agency said.
“E-Cialis HelloCig E-Liquid” contained sildenafil (active in Viagra) and tadalafil (active in Cialis), and “E-Rimonabant HelloCig E-Liquid” contained sildenafil, the FDA said a lab analysis of the e-liquids confirmed.
Both Cialis and Viagra are FDA-approved drugs, but they are not approved to be added to e-cigarette liquids, the FDA said.
“Prescription drugs are carefully evaluated and labeled to reflect the risks of the medications and their potential interactions with other medicines, and vaping active drug ingredients is an ineffective route of delivery and can be dangerous,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement Thursday. “There are no e-liquids that contain prescription drugs that have been proven safe or effective through this route of administration.”
Additionally, the FDA said HelloCig used images of Cialis bottles and pills in their advertising, suggesting the e-liquid could be used to treat erectile dysfunction, as well as bottles and pills for Acomplia, a non-FDA-approved anti-obesity drug.
In one case the FDA documented, the company posted on Twitter and Tumblr with the message, “WOOOOW, Have you tried our E-Cialis? It is amazing LOL Check out,” including a link to the product and an image of “a partially undressed couple embracing.”
The link the FDA included in its letter was no longer on the company’s website when USA TODAY tried to access it Friday evening. HelloCig also did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
The FDA warned that the ingredients could have negative effects and interact with other prescription drugs to treat blood pressure or heart disease.
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