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Counterfeit Cialis may pose serious risk to those with heart condition

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Michael Dalder / Reuters/Michael Dalder / Reuters

In the wake of an RCMP seizure of counterfeit Cialis, Health Canada is warning people that counterfeit or unauthorized health products can cause serious health problems.

Health Canada says the counterfeit Cialis seized in the Toronto area contains sildenafil, a prescription medication, whereas the authorized version of Cialis, manufactured by Eli Lilly, contains the prescription medication tadalafil.

Sildenafil may pose serious health risks, particularly to people with heart problems and those taking any kind of nitrate drug such as nitroglycerine because it can cause life-threatening low blood pressure.

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Individuals with heart problems may be at increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack, stroke, chest pain, high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeat.

Other side-effects include headache, facial flushing, indigestion, dizziness, abnormal vision and hearing loss.

The authorized Cialis comes in blister packs with a coloured oval on the front that changes from copper to green when the package is raised up and down in front of you. The counterfeit blister packs have a lot number of 05668 and have the active ingredient listed as "Tadalafil" in four different languages.

Health products authorized for sale by Health Canada will have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) or a Natural Product Number (NPN) on the label. Some natural health products (NHPs) may have an Exemption Number (EN), which indicates that the product is legally available for sale while Health Canada is reviewing its application for licensing.

To minimize health risks, Canadians should not take any prescription drug that has not been prescribed by a health-care practitioner. People who have purchased or used the counterfeit Cialis product should talk to their health-care practitioner.

Questions can be directed to Health Canada at 613-957-2991 or toll free at 1-866-225-0709. Consumers can also contact Eli Lilly at 1-888-545-5972 for information regarding Cialis.

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