December 30, 2003 - FDA Announces Plans to Prohibit Sales of Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedra Consumers Advised to Stop Using Ephedra Immediately
On Dec. 30, 2003, FDA issued a consumer alert, advising consumers to immediately stop buying and using ephedra products because of concerns on the safety of the dietary supplement.
Ephedra, also called Ma huang, is a naturally occurring substance derived from plants. Its principal active ingredient is ephedrine, which is regulated as a drug when chemically synthesized. Ephedra products have been promoted to aid weight loss, enhance sports performance, and increase energy.
The FDA also notified manufacturers that it intends to publish a final rule stating that dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids present an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. The rule would have the effect of banning the sale of these products as soon as it becomes effective, 60 days after publication.