Study: 23,000 ER visits a year caused by supplements

By Shawn Price   |   Oct. 15, 2015 at 3:31 AM

WALTHAM, Mass., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- An estimated 23,000 emergency rooms visits a year are caused by dietary supplements, a new study said.

Researchers tracked emergency room visits across the United States for more than 10 years and found thousands of injuries, mostly to young adults ages 20 to 34 with cardiovascular problems taking supplements marketed for energy or weight loss.

The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first to document the level of injury related to the $32 billion a year industry.

Led by researchers at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study adds to the growing criticism of the industry which receives lower scrutiny than many other food or medical products. However, industry representatives said their products are used by about half of Americans with the data showing only a relatively small number of injuries. Prescription drugs cause about 30 times as many emergency room visits.

People visited emergency rooms with severe allergic reactions, chest pain, heart palpitations, irregular heart beats, or nausea and vomiting related to the intake of some form of supplements and of those, about 10 percent required hospitalization.

Some of the products mentioned as related to the hospital visits were Black Jack Energy, Hydroxycut, Raspberry Ketones, and Xenadrine, researchers said.

The study did not track how many of the emergency room visits led to fatalities, because they only tracked the number of hospital visits.

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