March 6, 2006

At the FDA's request, the U.S. Marshals Service recently seized roughly $3 million worth of dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids manufactured and marketed by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals.

The action, authorized by a forfeiture order from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, involved Hi-Tech's Lipodrene, Stimerex-ES and Betadrene products; which are labeled as containing 25 mg of ephedrine alkaloids per tablet, the FDA said. The seizure at the firm's Norcross, Ga., facility included more than 200 cases of finished products, more than 200 boxes of bulk tablets, and nine 25-kilo drums of ephedrine alkaloid raw material, the agency noted.

"FDA continues to warn consumers to avoid consumption of dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids," said Andrew von Eschenbach, acting FDA commissioner. "We will continue to do all we can to protect the public health against these dietary supplements that have been found to cause serious illness and injury."

Ephedrine alkaloids are adrenaline-like stimulants that raise blood pressure and stress the circulatory system, conditions that have been linked to heart attack and stroke, according to the FDA. In February 2004, the agency issued a rule declaring that dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids present an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. The final rule, which went into effect in April 2004, marked the first time the FDA had used its authority under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) to ban a dietary supplement.