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LAS VEGAS (CBSMiami/AP) —As former NBA star Lamar Odom clings to life, the circumstances leading him there are under investigation including the things he took.

Authorities said Odom had taken over-the-counter sexual performance enhancement drugs before he was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel called the Love Ranch. The Nye County Sheriff’s Office said he took up to 10 pills in a three-day period. A spokesman for the brothel said Odom bought Reload and Libimax Plus brand pills from its shop on site.

They’re supplements, sometimes called herbal Viagra, that the Food and Drug Administration, Mayo Clinic and others have warned against taking. But what is known about them?

Viagra is a prescription medication approved by the FDA and used to treat erectile dysfunction. Herbal Viagra and other over-the-counter sexual performance enhancement products are often marketed as a cheaper alternative to Viagra but are not regulated by the FDA and can be purchased without a prescription. Many are sold online.

“The problem with these herbal or over the counter enhancer is that its not regulated, its not FDA approved,” said Dr. Nabil El Sanadi with Broward Health.

As for if they are dangerous, the FDA has warned that some of the sexual performance enhancement products contain hidden ingredients, including undeclared prescription medications, which can be harmful. The products also can cause dangerously low blood pressure, especially if the user takes nitrate medications for heart problems, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

“Herbal Viagra is a vaso dilator which opens up the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Cocaine is a vaso constrictor so they work in opposite directions,” said El Sanadi.

As authorities investigate what Odom took, various friends and former teammates have stepped forward offering their support. 

In South Florida, Miami Heat players, former team members of Odom, took to social media, offering prayers for his recovery.

His estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian is reportedly by his side.

Hospital authorities would not comment on the condition of the 35-year-old former NBA forward, but the Rev. Jesse Jackson was among his visitors Wednesday. Jackson said Odom was on life support and improving.

Odom started “throwing up all kinds of stuff” after a 911 operator told them to turn him on his side, Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof told The Associated Press in a phone interview. Odom had “spent time socializing with some of my girls,” but wasn’t seen taking any illegal drugs, Hof said.

In a recording of a 911 call, Hof’s spokesman Richard Hunter said Odom was breathing but in a “deep sleep” and had fluid coming from his nose and mouth.

“He sounds like he’s snoring a little bit. But he is breathing consistently,” Hunter said.

It was Odom’s first visit to the Love Ranch, and he told employees he did cocaine before he arrived Saturday, Hunter said.

With a search warrant, authorities took a blood sample from Odom early Wednesday to determine what was in his system but the results could take weeks.

Odom spent most of his 14-year NBA career in Los Angeles with the Lakers and Clippers, becoming a fan favorite before he sought even more fame with the Kardashians.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Eliott Rodriguez

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