Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed after Soldier's Death Allegedly Caused by Jack3d® Containing DMAA


April 05, 2013

The Army is currently investigating a supplement called dimethylamylamine (DMAA), that is commonly used by those engaged in workout activities, following the death of two servicemen according to a Healthline report. The substance, which is also referred to as “geranium extract” because it is derived from Chinese geraniums, is a powerful stimulant. The substance is a component in a number of products, such as Jack3d®. While products that contain DMAA have been banned by a number of both professional and amateur sporting organizations, it is still available through stores that sell nutritional supplements like GNC®.

The journal of Military Medicine published reports involving both deaths allegedly linked to DMAA. In one case, the soldier, Michael Lee Sparling, experienced cardiac arrest after he had been running for approximately ten minutes. Sparling had purportedly taken the recommended amount of Jack3d® prior to running according to a report in the New York Times. The Times also reported that the soldier was in good health and had completed basic training without incident. The other fatality allegedly linked to the substance involved a soldier who died during a physical fitness test and had used DMAA. The Military Medicine journal suggested that the DMMA interacting with other substances might create an increased risk of stroke or cardiac arrest similar to other sympathomimetic drugs removed from the market like ephedra, which was banned by the FDA.

The FDA issued warning letters to companies that manufacture and distribute supplements containing DMAA last year because the companies had not submitted mandatory evidence of the substance’s safety. The letter warned, “DMAA is known to narrow blood vessels and arteries, which can elevate blood pressure and may lead to cardiovascular events ranging from shortness of breath and tightening in the chest to heart attack.” The letter also indicated that at the time the letter was sent, the FDA had received 42 adverse event reports, including nervous system disorders, psychiatric disorders, cardiac disorders and fatalities. Because the synthetic DMMA is not a “dietary ingredient,” the FDA letter indicated it could not be used in a dietary supplement.

The tragic death of the two soldiers follows a similar death of Claire Squires who collapsed and died during the London Marathon last year after allegedly taking DMAA. The coroner concluded that the combination of DMMA with extreme physical exertion caused cardiac arrest based on the “balance of probabilities” according to a BBC report. A Georgia wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against UPS Labs, which manufacturers Jack3d® and GNC®, which sells the product. The lawsuit alleges that marketing of the product was deceptive because it promoted the product as safe.

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Category: Personal Injury

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