A man in his thirties has died after having taken the illegal weight loss product Therma Power, which contains ephedrine. The Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Århus, has established that the deceased had a high concentration of ephedrine in the blood. The man died from a heart attack.
The Danish Medicines Agency therefore strongly warns against Therma Power and products with a similar content and characteristics. Therma Power contains ephedrine or synephrine and is illegal in Denmark.
From 2006 and up to now, the Danish Medicines Agency has received six adverse reactions reports on Therma Power. However, this is the first time that a death has been related to Therma Power.
The Danish Medicines Agency and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration have repeatedly warned consumers against taking products like Therma Power, which comes in a red and a blue variant. The red variant contains ephedrine and caffeine in extremely high concentrations and may inflict serious damage on persons taking the products. Blue Therma Power is but one of several food supplements that contain the undesirable combination of synephrine and caffeine which makes them both illegal and dangerous. The substances are contained naturally in e.g. citrus fruits and green tea, where they cause no harm. However, Therma Power contains very large concentrations of the substances.
Both products are illegal, but can be bought on the internet, typically via websites that are registered abroad. The Danish Medicines Agency systematically informs relevant foreign authorities when it becomes aware of such websites.
The products are commonly found in training and fitness environments due to their performance-enhancing properties, but also persons wishing to lose weight take the products.
The Danish Medicines Agency has previously been informed that Therma Power and other illegal ephedrine-containing medicinal products are sold via fitness shops. The Danish Medicines Agency has reported these cases to the police.
On the list of ingredients, the substances are specified with their correct names "caffeine/koffein", "synephrine/synefrin" or specified as extracts of "citrusfrugter/citrus aurantium" and e.g. "grøn te" (green tea). On the list of ingredients Ephedrine is typically specified as "ephedrine/ephedrine", "ephedra" or "Ma Huang".
In addition to Therma Power, there are other illegal medicinal products containing ephedrine/ephedra on the market. The Danish Medicines Agency strongly warns against these products also. The illegal medicinal products include: El Tigre, Ephedra 850, Yellow Subs, Stack II and Stacker 2 Lite. To this should be added product names containing the word "therma" or "thermo".
It is important for the authorities to make consumers aware that products sold via foreign websites, despite them being in Danish, are not controlled by Danish authorities. This means that consumers can neither be sure that the products are legal in Denmark nor that they are safe to take.
Danish Medicines Agency: Gitte Albæk Christensen, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone +4488 9323
Danish Veterinary and Food Administration: Søren Langkilde, email: email@example.com, telephone +45 3395 61 43
The Danish Medicines Agency, 30 January 2008.