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FDA seizes ephedrine ingredients


SILVER SPRING, Md. — At the request of the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. marshals on Tuesday seized raw materials imported by Infinity Marketing Group containing ephedrine alkaloids, a large family of pharmacological compounds called sympathomimetics that have been banned by the FDA for use in dietary supplements since 2004.

The seizure took place in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. Through this action, FDA removed more than $70,000 worth of dietary supplement ingredients from the market.

"Working in close coordination with our federal colleagues in U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FDA helped identify and remove these potentially dangerous products from the marketplace," said Dara Corrigan, FDA associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "We will continue to take enforcement action that prevents potentially harmful products from reaching consumers and endangering their health."

Ephedrine alkaloids are adrenaline-like stimulants that potentially can have dangerous effects on the heart. Prior to 2004, dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids extensively had been promoted for aiding weight control and boosting sports performance and energy. But available data showed little evidence of the compound's effectiveness except for modest, short-term weight loss without any clear health benefit, while confirming that the substance raised blood pressure and otherwise stressed the circulatory system. These effects were linked to significant adverse health outcomes, including heart attack, stroke and death.

FDA's chemical analysis confirmed the presence of these alkaloids in the shipment, but the shipping drums carried no labels indicating that the material contained the banned ephedrine alkaloids.

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