Amphetamine-Like Compound in Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements, despite their popularity, are not always as safe as one would hope or expect. As reported in a USA Today article, scientists recently found “non-natural” amphetamine-like compounds in certain dietary supplements. Nonetheless, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued no consumer warnings about the products or ingredients.

USA Today reports that tests of 21 supposedly all-natural supplements by FDA scientists found nine products that contain a non-natural amphetamine-like compound. The article states the following:

“All 21 of the supplements list an ingredient called Acacia rigidula, which is a bushy plant found in Texas and Mexico. The FDA scientists reported they couldn’t find the substance in verified samples of the plant. The compound appears to have never been tested for safety on humans…FDA officials would not comment on their study or release the names of the supplements tested or the nine found to contain the compound, beta-methylphenethylamine. The Acacia rigidula supplements tested were marketed for such things as weight loss, energy boosting and mood stabilizing.”

Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, was part of another research team that recently reported finding a methamphetamine-like compound in a popular pre-workout supplement called Craze. According to Cohen, the FDA has known about the nine supplements since on or before July 15 and he is “dismayed” that the FDA has yet to issue any public warnings about the Craze or nine supplements with amphetamine-like substances.

“The laws are incredibly weak,” Cohen said, “but the FDA is not moving as fast as it could to remove hazardous products.”

As we reported last month, OxyElite Pro – a dietary supplement used for weight loss and muscle-building – was recalled after it was linked to dozens of hepatitis and liver failure cases in Hawaii and other states. To date, the product has been linked with 50 cases of liver illness nationwide and more than 20 hospitalizations, in addition to two liver transplants, and one death. Some of the symptoms reported include nausea, fatigue, and yellow eyes.

Unsafe Drug Liability

Drug manufacturers, including the makers of dietary supplements, are obligated to ensure that the products that they make are safe and appropriately labeled. As we reported earlier this year, a jury awarded a young girl and her parents $63 million in compensatory damages (plus an additional $46 million in interest and costs) for severe adverse reactions the girl suffered after taking Children’s Motrin. The medicine’s maker, Johnson & Johnson, was found liable for failing to provide adequate warning labels about potential adverse reactions.

The Chicago medical product liability attorneys at Cogan & Power are dedicated to protecting consumers from unsafe pharmaceuticals and dangerous medical devices. If you have been injured or a loved one has died as a result of an unsafe drug or dietary supplement, please contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible product liability or medical malpractice lawsuit.