Lamar Odom's collapse in a Nevada brothel has people questioning the safety of supplemental performance enhancers, or herbal viagra. (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)

Lamar Odom remains on life support in a Las Vegas hospital following his collapse Tuesday at a Nevada brothel.

As his family members and celebrity friends rush to his bedside, attention is turning to the substances he allegedly took before he lost consciousness at the Love Ranch.

[Fighting for his life: The downfall of basketball’s Lamar Odom]

[Dennis Hof: The world’s least discreet pimp talks and talks about Lamar Odom]

Odom had taken cocaine and 10 tabs of “sexual performance enhancer supplements” in the days before his hospitalization, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said Wednesday.

“He was taking herbal Viagra and he was taking a lot of it,” brothel owner Dennis Hof told NBC.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday night, Hof admitted that Odom had purchased “herbal Viagra” pills during his multi-day stay.

[Dietary supplements send more than 23,000 people to the ER each year]

“It’s called ‘Reload,'” he said, naming the particular brand of sexual performance enhancing pills Odom purchased from the brothel.

“It’s an herbal supplement that gives you energy,” Hof told The Post. “They say it’s for erectile dysfunction. Basically, it gives you more energy. It’s an over-the-counter speedy kind of product … the pill form of an energy drink.

“It’s not a pharmaceutical, not a prescription drug,” Hof added.

What Hof didn’t say, however, was that Reload itself can be dangerous, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Two years ago, the FDA issued a warning that Reload “contains [a] hidden drug ingredient” that could lead to dangerous reactions.

Rather than being an herbal alternative to Viagra — the prescription drug widely used to treat erectile dysfunction — or a “nutritional supplement,” as advertised on its packaging, Reload really was Viagra, but without regulations or medical oversight, the FDA warned.

“FDA laboratory analysis confirmed that ‘Reload’ contains sildenafil, the active ingredient in the FDA-approved prescription drug Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED),” according to the 2013 warning. “This undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs such as nitroglycerin and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.”

“Consumers should stop using this product immediately and throw it away,” the FDA bluntly warned.

Former NBA and reality star Lamar Odom is reportedly fighting for his life after he was found unresponsive in a Nevada brothel on Oct. 13. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

A photo of Reload on the FDA Web site shows its package warns users to “seek advice from a health professional prior to use if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or are using any prescription drugs.”

The package makes no mention of sildenafil, instead listing a number of other ingredients including “Gingko Biloba” [sic] and “Panax Ginseng.”

“72 Hours Strong,” the package promises next to a picture of a woman kissing a gun, its barrel elongated by the bright red Reload pill.

An Internet address listed on the packaging directs users not to information about Reload, but rather to a Japanese-language Web site about Internet dating. An e-mail address listed on the Web page did not work.

A spokesman for the Love Ranch told the Associated Press that Odom had also purchased another brand of sexual enhancement pill, Libimax Plus, from the brothel’s shop. (Hof told The Post that the brothel sells other brands in addition to Reload.)

Like Reload, Libimax Plus has been targeted by the FDA for secretly including a powerful prescription drug that requires a doctor’s approval. In 2009, the supplement was the subject of a recall due to its hidden contents.

Herbal supplements are not subjected to the same testing standards and approval process as prescription drugs. They form a shadowy second market of drugs, fueled by Internet testimonials and unverified claims. Some herbal sexual enhancement pills, for instance, are marketed as a “natural” way of combating the side effects of cocaine use.


Richard Hunter, the media director for Dennis Hof, who owns the Love Ranch, in the room at the brothel where Odom was found. (Chris Carlson/AP)

There is a “growing trend of dietary supplements or conventional foods with hidden drugs and chemicals,” according to the FDA. “These products are typically promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss, and body building, and are often represented as being ‘all natural.’ FDA is unable to test and identify all products marketed as dietary supplements on the market that have potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Consumers should exercise caution before purchasing any product in the above categories.”

[From 1952-2015: The path to ‘female Viagra’ has been a rocky one]

The FDA has issued 20 warnings this year concerning “tainted” Internet sexual enhancement supplements with names like “Weekend Warrior” and “King of Romance,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The cause of Odom’s collapse is still unclear.

The 35-year-old former NBA star and estranged husband of Khloé Kardashian was found on Tuesday afternoon on the floor of his Love Ranch suite with a pink “mucus-type liquid coming out of his nose and mouth,” a brothel manager told TMZ.

Odom had arrived on Saturday and spent three days with two women, drinking cognac and downing Reload, according to Love Ranch spokesman Richard Hunter. Odom told one of the women “that on Saturday prior to arriving here that he had used a small amount of cocaine,” Hunter told the New York Daily News.

The Love Ranch does not allow drugs, according to Hof. “Everybody knows that my place is zero tolerance,” the brothel owner told CNN.

Authorities have taken a blood sample from Odom to find out the exact cause of his collapse, but the results could take several weeks, Nye County Sheriff’s Detective Michael Eisenloffel said at a news conference Wednesday.

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