An energy drink manufactured in Zambia has been banned by authorities after investigations found it contains sildenafil citrate which is used to treat erectile dysfunction.
The drink, Power Natural High Energy Drink SX, is produced by Revin Zambia Limited, a company located in Ndola in the north of the country. It is also sold in other neighbouring countries.
“Results from both Zimbabwe and South Africa correlated with those obtained from the Foods and Drugs Laboratory that indicated a positive presence of Sildenafil Citrate,” a statement by Zambian authorities said, according to Reuters.
In January, Face2Face Africa shared a story of a Ugandan man who complained of an erection lasting nearly six hours coupled with constant sweating, and abnormal heartbeat after consuming the drink. Subsequent investigations by the National Drug Authority (NDA) in Uganda confirmed it contained Viagra.
Despite the ban, BBC reports that demand for the energy drink has shot up and is still being sold in shops in the capital city of Lusaka. Manufacturers of the drink, who denied it contained such drugs in January, are yet to respond to the ban.
The drink has also been banned in Malawi and Uganda.
Sildenafil is known by most as Viagra. This little blue pill has greatly enhanced the quality of life of men suffering from erectile dysfunction. What many people do not know is that sildenafil can also be used to treat pulmonary hypertension, heart disease and altitude sickness. It is important to note that because of its mode of action, men who are taking nitrates should not use sildenafil.
Apart from large amounts of caffeine, most energy drinks contain added sugars; vitamins, such as B vitamins; and legal stimulants, such as guarana, a plant that grows in the Amazon; taurine, an amino acid that’s naturally found in meat and fish; and L-carnitine, a substance in our bodies that helps turn fat into energy, reports the CNN.
Although energy drinks have become popular among people, the World Health Organisation has warned that excessive intake “may pose danger to public health.”
A team of researchers from the WHO have suggested several actions to minimize the potential for harm from energy drinks:
Establishing an upper limit for the amount of caffeine allowed in a single serving of this type of drinks in line with available scientific evidence;
Regulations to enforce restriction of labelling and sales of energy drinks to children and adolescents;
Enforcing standards for responsible marketing to young people by the energy drink industry;
Training health care practitioners to be aware of the risks and symptoms of energy drinks consumption;
Patients with a history of diet problems and substance abuse, both alone and combined with alcohol, should be screened for the heavy consumption of energy drinks;
Educating the public about the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks consumption;
Further research on the potential adverse effects of energy drinks, particularly on young people.