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Driven Sports, the Maker of Pre-Workout 'Craze' Supplement, Suspends Production in Wake of Reports of Dangerous Ingredients

Oct 16, 2013

Following news that Driven Sport’s Craze pre-workout powder contains a methamphetamine-like product, the manufacturer announced that it suspended production and sales of Craze.

Although Driven Sports declined repeated interview requests by USA Today, the supplement maker did post a statement on its website that indicated that it had suspended production "several months ago while it investigated the reports in the media regarding the safety of Craze."

This July, USA Today revealed that Matt Cahill, a Driven Sports official, is, in fact, a convicted felon with a history of releasing dangerous products on the market. Also, tests of the supplement by the both the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and a Swedish laboratory discovered amphetamine-like compounds in Craze.

This week, scientists from the United States and the Netherlands published an article in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis saying they had discovered an analog of methamphetamine in samples of Craze they had tested. The researchers warned that the methamphetamine analog they discovered has not been studied in humans and its health risks are neither known nor are they disclosed on the Craze label, according to USA Today.

Driven Sports indicated that its studies continue to find that Craze is safe "when used responsibly" and that tests commissioned by Driven Sports "have consistently indicated that Craze does not contain amphetamines or controlled substances,” adding that, "the confidence of our retailers to sell the product and our consumers to buy the product is our primary concern so we will continue the suspension of the production and sale of Craze for the foreseeable future until these issues are resolved," USA Today reported.

Driven Sports maintains that the independent lab testing, and the scientists, who have found amphetamine- and methamphetamine-like compounds in Craze are mistaken and that Craze’s label indicates that the product contains dendrobium orchid extract, a compound it says has naturally-occurring phenylethylamine compounds; outside testing may be confusing the natural compound for amphetamine-like substances. The presence of "n-beta DEPEA" in Craze" is "a related but very different substance" from the n,alpha DEPEA, which was identified in this week’s journal article, according to Driven Sports, which also noted that it is "very difficult to distinguish these two substances unless you know precisely what you are looking for and are using the proper test methodology," USA Today reported.

The authors of the journal article, in an emailed statement, wrote that "their argument holds no merit" and that Driven Sports is "just throwing out new chemical names to try to confuse." The authors also noted that n-beta DEPEA is "a completely different molecule" and that the molecular differences would have made them act differently on two of the three tests they conducted, according to USA Today. "We stand 100% behind our results," said the research team, which is comprised of Pieter Cohen of Harvard Medical School; John Travis, a scientist at NSF International; and Bastiaan Venhuis of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands. A different research team, located in South Korea, also discovered the same methamphetamine-like substance in their Craze testing. Those findings were published in a forensic toxicology journal in August.

Amy Eichner, special advisor on supplements at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, stated that Craze is listed on the group’s "high risk" supplement list. Also, class action lawsuits are pending for consumers who purchased Craze for personal use.

Experts say Cahill is an example of an industry nightmare who is involved in putting dangerous supplements for consumers on the market with no testing and no government approval; also, they are sold by people with problematic pasts that may include criminal convictions, according to a prior USA Today report.

"These are not fringe players; these are mainstream dietary supplement companies and products that are in your mainstream health and nutrition stores," Eichner told USA Today, adding, “It's not that there are a few bad actors…. There are a lot of bad actors."

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