Banned stimulants found in weight loss and sports supplements

Posted 07 May 2021

Banned stimulants found in weight loss and sports supplements Deterenol is a pharmaceutical bronchodilator that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never approved as a drug for humans. The FDA determined in 2004 that deterenol is not permitted as an ingredient in dietary supplements. Although since 2018, deterenol has been detected in several brands of dietary supplements sold in the U.S., the FDA has not advised manufacturers to remove it from products or warned consumers to avoid supplements labeled as containing the drug. In April 2018, researchers made online purchases of 35 samples of 17 brands of supplements labeled as containing deterenol (or a synonym) to determine the presence and quantity of active pharmaceutical stimulants that have not been approved by the FDA for oral use.

The researchers found:

  • Eight of the brands were marketed for weight loss, six as sports/energy supplements, and three with no listed purpose.
  • Thirteen of the brands were found to contain deterenol; in eight of them, deterenol was the only stimulant.
  • Seven of the other stimulants have previously been subject to FDA regulatory actions including product seizures, warning letters, and public notices.
  • A total of nine stimulants found are prohibited in dietary supplements by the FDA and/or prohibited in sport by the World Anti-Doping Agency; they were found in eight different combinations.

The researchers criticized the FDA for failing to remove adulterated supplements from the marketplace. They note that “supplements containing deterenol have been linked in Europe to a series of serious adverse effects including sudden death.” They concluded:

The FDA should warn consumers about the presence of cocktails of experimental stimulants in weight loss and sports supplements and take immediate effective action to remove these stimulants from the market.

Clinicians should remain alert to the possibility that patients may be inadvertently exposed to experimental and prohibited stimulants when consuming weight loss and sports supplements.

Reference: Cohen P. and others. Nine prohibited stimulants found in sports and weight loss supplements: deterenol, phenpromethamine (Vonedrine), oxilofrine, octodrine, beta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), 1,3-dimethylamylamine (1,3-DMAA), 1,4-dimethylamylamine (1,4-DMAA), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (1,3-DMBA) and higenamine. Clinical Toxicology, March 23, 2021

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