August 9, 2012 — Australian health authorities have banned the sale of DMAA, a popular stimulant drug that is an ingredient in many dietary supplements, “party pills,” and is used by bodybuilders and weight-loss enthusiasts for a pre-workout energy boost. The Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) banned DMAA due to concerns about the safety of the drug, which has been linked to high blood pressure, headaches, vomiting, strokes, cardiac disorders, and death.
Health authorities in Australia and New Zealand have been considering a ban since June 2012. Other countries have already taken action against DMAA manufacturers — including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, and more. The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned DMAA in athletes since 2010.
The TGA now lists DMAA as a chemical in appendix C of the poisons standard.
According to Dr. John Skerrit of the TGA, “The substance itself increases their heart rate and gives them a bit of a high after they use it. And while it’s not addictive, the problems that it causes by increasing the heart rate has led to a number of emergency-room presentations and suspected deaths.”
Products containing DMAA will be removed from store shelves by August 8, 2012. When asked to comment on reports that some companies were encouraging customers to stock up on the product before the ban takes effect, Dr. Skerrit said, “It clearly is not good advice and once the implementation on the 8th of August happens it will actually be prohibited.”
DMAA is a mild stimulant also sometimes known as “geranium oil” or extract, “1,3-dimethylamylamine”, or “methylhexanamine.” There is little evidence linking DMAA to a botanical source, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that DMAA is a synthetic drug and therefore an adulterant in dietary supplements.
DMAA has not been officially banned in the U.S., though the FDA has sent 10 manufacturers warning letters that they are in violation of U.S. law by selling DMAA without providing the FDA with a New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) application. The warning letters have curtailed sales of DMAA, but some stores continue to stock products containing the drug. It is estimated that around 200 dietary supplements contain DMAA.
The U.S. Department of Defense banned sales of DMAA on military bases, following the deaths of two solders. The soldiers died of cardiac arrest during physical training. They were found to have high amounts of DMAA in their bloodstream.
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