In a nine-page report released Thursday morning, researchers from Cambridge Health Alliance reveal the science behind the banned stimulant and expose brands that are secretly hiding it in their supplements. The report goes just two days after the the Food and Drug Administration issued alerting letters to seven companies whose supplements were found to contain oxilofrine.
Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the leading researcher on the nine-page report, says the problem is much worse than the FDAs estimate. His report uncovers at least 14 producers who use the product, which has been shown to cause dangerous side effects. Its the most recent strike against the supplement industryone whose unregulated products send 23,000 Americans to emergency rooms every year.
Oxilofrine is a stimulant that acts similarly to an amphetamine but has never been approved for consumption in the U.S. The drug was synthesized by European scientists in the 1930 s to assist treat low blood pressure. Also referred to as methylsynephrine, it works by stimulating the heart and increasing the blood pressure.
Considered unsafe for use in the U.S ., it is also banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Its history of abuse began in 2009 when Flavia Oliveira, a Brazilian-American cyclist, tested positive for the druglanding her a two-year suspension from the sport. In court, Oliveira argued that she had no knowledge that the supplement she was taking, Hyperdrive 3.0+, contained the drugwhich convinced officials to grant her a reduced sentence of 18 months.