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Man using an e cigarette.

FDA Warns Against ‘Vaping’ of ED Drugs

The FDA alerts U.S. consumers to two brands of e-cigarette vaping liquids that contain erectile dysfunction medications as unlisted ingredients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is sounding the alarm about two e-cigarette vaping liquids said to contain tadalafil and sildenafil citrate, the active ingredients in the erectile dysfunction drugs Cialis and Viagra, respectively.

Both these medications, normally sold in tablet form, are available to U.S. consumers by prescription only. Their presence — as unlisted ingredients — in vaping liquids makes them available over the counter to anyone able to buy e-cigarette liquids.

Could Be a Health Hazard

Quite apart from their availability without a prescription in vaping liquids, the U.S. drug regulatory agency is concerned about the possible health consequences if these products are used by consumers who are also taking nitrate-based drugs.

Tadalafil and sildenafil belong to a family of medications known collectively as PDE5 inhibitors. They are prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction caused by insufficient blood flow to the penis. They accomplish this goal by temporarily increasing blood flow to the penis, which is accompanied by a significant drop in blood pressure.

ED Drugs and Nitrates Don’t Mix

If tadalafil or sildenafil is taken concurrently with nitrates, which also lower blood pressure sharply, the combination could result in a precipitous decline in blood pressure, with potentially life-threatening consequences.

Again, because they are unlisted ingredients, consumers using one of the two vaping liquids targeted by the FDA would unknowingly expose themselves to a variety of side effects, which while generally mild can be serious in rare cases. The most common — and mildest — of these side effects might be back pain, dizziness, facial flushing, headache, muscle ache, and nausea. More serious side effects include priapism, an erection that lasts for more than four hours, and a sudden loss of hearing and/or vision.

The vaping liquids in question are E-Cialis HelloCig E-Liquid and E-Rimonabant HelloCig E-Liquid. The former was found to contain both sildenafil and tadalafil, while the latter contained sildenafil only, according to the FDA. Both products are manufactured and distributed by HelloCig Electronic Technology Company, which is headquartered in Shanghai, China.

FDA Has Warned Chinese Firm

In a December 2018 news release, the FDA reports that it has contacted the Chinese company repeatedly “to recommend they recall these products due to the risks to consumers. However, HelloCig has not responded to the agency’s recommendation.”

In an earlier warning about the dangers of these and other vaping liquids that contain active prescription drug ingredients, the FDA said that vaping is an ineffective and potentially dangerous route of delivery for these medications. “There are no e-liquids that contain prescription drugs that have been proven safe or effective through this route of administration.”

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