Driven Sports’ Craze pre-workout powder was reported to contain a methamphetamine-like product. Since, the manufacturer has announced suspension of Craze production and sales.
Driven Sports has declined repeated USA Today interview requests but did post a statement on its website that indicated it had suspended production “several months ago while it investigated the reports in the media regarding the safety of Craze.”
Matt Cahill, a Driven Sports official, was revealed to be a convicted felon with a history of releasing dangerous products on the consumer market, according to a July report published by USA Today. Craze testing conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and a Swedish laboratory found amphetamine-like compounds in the pre-workout powder.
Researchers from the United States and the Netherlands published an article this week in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis. The researchers indicated that they discovered an analog of methamphetamine in samples of Craze they tested and warned that this analog has not been studied in humans. The researchers also noted that the analog’s health risks are unknown and the Craze label does not indicate any health risks, according to USA Today.
Driven Sports argued that its studies continue to find that Craze is safe “when used responsibly” and that tests it commissioned “have consistently indicated that Craze does not contain amphetamines or controlled substances.” The supplement maker added 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 continues to maintain that the external, independent lab testing and research claims—that Craze contains amphetamine- and methamphetamine-like compounds in the product—are mistaken. Driven Sports also indicated that Craze’s label notes that the product contains dendrobium orchid extract, a compound that contains naturally occurring phenylethylamine compounds, according to the supplement maker. Driven Sports claims that external testing might be confusing the natural compound for amphetamine-like substances and that the presence of “n-beta DEPEA” in Craze” is “a related but very different substance” from the n,alpha DEPEA identified in this week’s journal article. Also according to Driven Sports, 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 journal article authors wrote, in an e-mailed statement, that “their argument holds no merit” and that Driven Sports is “just throwing out new chemical names to try to confuse.” The authors also pointed out that n-beta DEPEA is “a completely different molecule” and that the molecular differences would have resulted in different responses in two of their three tests, according to USA Today. “We stand 100% behind our results,” said the research team, which is comprised with 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. Another research team from South Korea also discovered the same methamphetamine-like substance in their testing of Craze. Those findings were published in a forensic toxicology journal in August.
Amy Eichner, special advisor on supplements at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said Craze is listed on the group’s “high risk” supplement list. Meanwhile, class action lawsuits are pending for consumers who purchased Craze for personal use.
Experts say Cahill is an example of an industry nightmare who puts dangerous supplements meant for consumer ingestion on the market with neither testing nor government approval and which are sold by people who have 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.”