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Call for changes in marketing ephedra

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ROCHESTER, Minn., Aug 12, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new study calls for changes in the way the popular weight-loss dietary supplement ephedra is marketed.

Researchers found some Web sites advertising dietary products and herbal supplements did not disclose potential adverse effects and made misleading statements about ephedra.

The study published in the August 2003 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests the Web sites could be in violation of truth-in-advertising standards.

The study suggests ephedra-based products carry warnings of possible side-effects, including elevated blood pressure, tachycardia (fast heart rate), palpitations, anxiety, stroke and psychosis.

Twenty-three-year-old Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler died earlier this year after taking an herbal supplement whose main ingredient was ephedra.

The Federal Trade Commission set forth guidelines for selling ephedra, including advertising rules that include substantiating market claims and disclosing safety issues. However, of the 32 Web sites evaluated in the study, the majority failed to meet FTC standards.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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