The FDA has an announced a joint initiative with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to combat fraudulent over-the-counter products that claim to be treatments for sexually-transmitted diseases.
According Dr. Debbie Birnkrant, Director of the FDA’s Division of Antiviral Products, “only healthcare providers can prescribe FDA-approved medications and vaccines proven to treat and prevent STDs.” She adds that “some STD treatments that you can buy without a prescription have untested ingredients in them that could make you sicker, while leaving your STD untreated. If you’re not treating your STD with an FDA-approved medication, you’re not only putting your own health at risk, you could be endangering your partner.”
The FDA and FTC have issued warning letters to a handful of companies, which have promoting OTC drugs to treat a variety of STDs, including herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, HIV, and AIDS. Some of the companies have been marketing their products under the guise of “dietary supplements.” The warning letters give the companies 15 days to correct their unlawful advertising or be subject to legal action by the FDA.
Dr. Birnkrant strongly cautions against consumers using these products instead of seeking medical care and treatment.