UPDATE: Swedish agency detects (legal) amphetamine-like compounds in sports supplements; not in ‘authentic’ Craze, says manufacturer

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: World anti-doping agency

'Authentic' Craze does not contain the amphetamine-like compounds in question, says manufacturer Driven Sports, suggesting a recent Swedish lab finding may have been based on 'fake Craze'
'Authentic' Craze does not contain the amphetamine-like compounds in question, says manufacturer Driven Sports, suggesting a recent Swedish lab finding may have been based on 'fake Craze'
A Swedish lab has found amphetamine-like compounds in sports supplements containing a herbal extract that has been touted as a replacement for widely banned stimulant, DMAA. But the lab said the compounds were not illegal, while the product maker has vehemently defended its product, Craze.

After a Swedish police request, the National Laboratory of Forensic Science (SKL) in Sweden tested what it considered to be Craze made by New York firm, Driven Sports, and said it found traces of amphetamine-like compounds including n-etyl-1-fenyl-butan-2-amin and phenetylamine.

Anna Zackrisson, a forensic adviser in SKL’s drug unit, got in touch to tell us her unit analysed, “5-10 seizures of the product ‘Craze’ searching for substances that are classified as narcotics in Sweden and for substances that have chemical similarity to amphetamine.”

“No classified substances were detected.”

N-etyl-1-fenyl-butan-2-amin and phenetylamine are not illegal in Sweden but they appear on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited substance list.

An SKL statement on Craze can be found here​.

Not in our Craze…

Driven Sports responded by stating ‘authentic’ Craze did not contain n-etyl-1-fenyl-butan-2-amin, a reference to a Craze copycat problem Driven Sports references on its website​.

“We refute this finding as erroneous,”​ said VP of operations Matt Cahill. “Authentic Craze does not contain this substance.”

Craze is marketed as a ‘performance fuel’ by Driven Sports (an American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) member), and won a class action against accusations in the US last year that it contained amphetamine-like substances. More on that here​.

Craze contains dendrobium – actually the name of a genus of Chinese orchids – and related compounds, along with creatine, citramine, caffeine and other ingredients.

Cahill said the other compound mentioned by SKL was legal and legally labelled on its product.

“The report states that ‘fenetylamin” (phenethylamine in English) was identified, which is solely related to amphetamine. This does not mean that it has the same effects as amphetamine. Phenethylamine is correctly labeled as an ingredient on our product and is found in chocolate as well as dozens of plants and food products.”

A counterfeit warning on the Driven Sports website
A counterfeit warning on the Driven Sports website

While DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine or methylhexaneamine) has been widely condemned by regulators around the world over sourcing and safety issues and almost completely removed from market, dendrobium and its sub-compounds remains the subject of ongoing scientific and regulatory assessment.

According to Swedish press reports, SKL said the amphetamine-like substance it detected were linked to hyperactivity, muscle twitching, heart rhythm disorder and confusion.

Characterisation concerns

James Neal-Kababick, director of Flora Research Laboratories, said he had been investigating the properties of the dendrobium species in question – Dendrobium nobile​ – which is endangered in the wild.

He said he had run into difficulty in sourcing the plant and so his characterisation project was on-hold for the moment.

Of the Swedish situation Neal-Kababick said, “I have not tested Craze for the presence of that compound and to confirm that it was there I would need to have some of that compound to compare it to or obtain accurate mass measurement of it.”

“The problem with [these kinds of stimulants] which include everything from ephedra to bath salts and amphetamines as well as many botanical compounds, is that they, like anabolic steroids, share many commonalities...”

Swedish authorities gave no indication of their intended course of action over the matter.

In Australia, Gym-goers have been raising concerns that Craze may be banned, although authorities there were not able to confirm that at this time.

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