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Felled by 'Herbal' Diet Drug

COLUMN ONE

AMP II drops, a potent mix of stimulants including ephedrine, caused a woman's stroke, she alleges. Her case shines a light on a largely unregulated industry.

April 04, 2002|RAY F. HERNDON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

* June 2, 1997: The FDA proposes limiting the amount of ephedrine in recommended doses of dietary supplements and requiring labels that warn consumers that exceeding those doses could cause seizures, heart attacks and strokes. The FDA later withdraws the proposal in the face of strong industry and congressional opposition.

* Feb. 7, 2001: An Anchorage jury awards Rosie Talbert $13.3 million after concluding that ephedrine diet drops made by E'Ola International of St. George, Utah, caused her stroke.

* Aug. 3, 2001: Rashidi Wheeler, a Northwestern University football player, collapses and dies during a workout. An autopsy identifies asthma as the cause of death, but university officials say ephedrine may also have played a role. Before the workout, Wheeler took two energy supplements containing the substance. Wheeler's death was one of three football fatalities that year in which ephedrine was suspected.

* Sept. 8, 2001: The National Football League adds ephedrine to its list of banned substances, following the lead of the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. and the International Olympic Committee.

* Jan. 10, 2002: Canadian health authorities call on manufacturers to stop selling ephedrine supplements containing more than a certain dosage level, or those that contain caffeine.

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