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Study finds ephedra may pose health risk to some users

Based on a review of 140 adverse events reports provided by the FDA, the study authors concluded "that dietary supplements that contain ephedra alkaloids pose a serious health risk to some users." The study, scheduled for December 21 publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, was released one month early because of its "potential clinical and public health implications." Michael McGuffin of the American Herbal Products Association criticized the report for several errors of fact and lack of sufficient review. Toxicologist Theodore Farber, who studied the adverse events reports for the Ephedra Education Council, asserted that the FDA's data were so flawed and collected so unsystematically that they were unsuitable for use in causal analysis. While acknowledging the inherent problems with the data, study author Neal L. Benowitz maintained that "there is enough here to raise a flag." Washington Post, November 7, 2000.

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