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Magic Power Coffee's Secret Revealed: Viagra-Like Ingredient

If you check the ingredients for Magic Power Coffee, you'll find horny goat weed, goji berries and American ginseng.

But unless you're a government chemist, you probably wouldn't have realized the beverage, touted as a natural romance enhancer, also includes a chemical cousin of the active ingredient in Viagra.

The Food and Drug Administration found hydroxythiohomosildenafil, a slightly tweaked version of Viagra's sildenafil, in tests of the coffee. And the agency warns consumers to lay off the stuff because of the risk of side effects.

"Because this product is an instant coffee labeled as an ‘all natural dietary supplement,’ consumers may assume it is harmless and poses no health risk," Deborah M. Autor, director of FDA’s drug compliance office says in a statement. "In fact, Magic Power Coffee can cause serious harm."

What could happen? If you take drugs like nitroglycerin for chest pain, the combination could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. The instructions for Viagra, Cialis and Levita warn people about that risk.

FDA hasn't heard about any reports of health problems but nevertheless said the hazard is real.

We emailed the people at Magic Power Coffee for comment but didn't hear back from them.

Update: An FDA spokesman e-mailed us to say the agency has "asked the company to make a voluntary recall, which it has not yet done and which we hope it will do." In the meantime, FDA says it's "gathering information necessary before taking additional regulatory action."

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