HHS & FDA Act to Reduce Potential Risks of Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedra

March 4, 2003

In order to protect Americans from potentially serious risks of dietary supplements containing ephedra, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA are seeking immediate rapid public comment on the evidence of health risks and the idea of strong warning labels on products containing ephedra. The herb, which is derived from the Chinese herbal Ma Huang, has been linked to numerous deaths, strokes, seizures and other adverse health events including the death of a Major League Baseball pitcher last month. While the FDA has not yet required a warning label or issued a ban on the substance, they have issued stern warnings to their producers to avoid making unsubstantiated claims about sports performance, enhancement or safety. Further actions will likely follow this period of data review.

(Click here to read the latest FDA press release on Ephedra.)