August 9, 2012 — Health authorities in Australia have banned DMAA, a popular stimulant drug also sometimes known as geranium oil/extract, “1,3-dimethylamylamine,” “methylhexanamine,” and more. DMAA is primarily used as a “party pill,” or as a pre-workout energy booster by bodybuilders and weight-loss enthusiasts. Unfortunately, DMAA has been linked to serious side effects — including high blood pressure, vomiting, headaches, strokes, cardiac arrest, and even death.
Australian and New Zealand health authorities have been considering a ban since June 2012. Many countries have taken action against DMAA, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, and more (though not all of these countries have banned DMAA). Furthermore, since 2010, the World Anti-Doping Agency has prohibited DMAA in athletes who are given blood tests in competition.
The Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) issued the ban and now lists DMAA in appendix C of the poisons standard.
Dr. John Skerit of the TGA warned, “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.”
Dr. Skerrit said that DMAA must be removed from store shelves by August 8, 2012. When asked about companies that are encouraging customers to stock up on DMAA 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 has not yet been banned in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued 10 warning letters to various manufacturers of supplements containing the drug. The warning letters cited the companies for failing to notify the agency of a new ingredient.
After DMAA was found in the bloodstream of two soldiers who died during routine physical training, the U.S. Department of Defense banned sales of the supplements on military bases. The soldiers both suffered cardiac arrests and had high amounts of DMAA in their bloodstream.
Although many manufacturers claim that DMAA is derived from a botanical source, there is little research confirming this — the claim is based on a single report published in a now-defunct Chinese technical journal in 1996. The FDA concluded that DMAA is a synthetic substance that is an adulterant in dietary supplements.
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