A number of popular workout supplements will become illegal from next week, following a decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) – ound in popular pre-workout drinks like Jack3d – was recently banned in Canada and New Zealand after reports of adverse health effects.
The drinks, which are usually bought as powder and mixed with water, are said to heighten energy and alertness.
The TGA was initially considering classing the stimulant in the same category with drugs such as heroin. But today’s decision puts it in a slightly different banned substances category. While it has been identified as a public health risk, it will not incur the serious criminal penalties of hard illicit drugs.
The decision follows public consultation and advice from an advisory committee. Of the six public submissions received, one supported the proposed ban, noting DMAA is addictive, while the other five argued it is safe, effective and has no negative health effects.
“If up to me you couldn’t ban DMAA quick enough. Tomorrow is too late,” the supporting submission said.
The TGA’s decision was based on “reports of adverse events including high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, cerebral haemorrhage and stroke”. It also found there are no approved therapeutic uses for the stimulant, it presents a high risk of abuse and little is known about its long-term effects.
DMAA was found in ”party pills” in New Zealand, leading to its ban in April.
The chair of toxicology at the Australasian Society for Pharmacology and Toxicology, Ian Musgrave, thinks the increasing recreational use was the tipping point for the TGA.
“They probably felt the harms from its use as a party drug outweighed any benefits in its use as a supplement in bodybuilding and weight loss,” he said.
He was “baffled” last month when he learnt it was being considered in a similar category to drugs such as heroin, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine and thinks this is a more appropriate classification.
“It’s more harmful than not,” he said “But it’s not so harmful it’s like heroine.”
Food Standards Australia New Zealand advised anyone who has consumed products containing DMAA and is concerned about health risks to consult their doctor.
The decision will be implemented from August 8. It is then up to state and territory governments to implement any changes to legislation.
The NSW Health Department said the ban would automatically be implemented across the state. DMAA will be listed as a Schedule 7 “highly dangerous substance” on the NSW Poisons List. The maximum penalty is a $1000 fine for each instance of supply.
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