On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it has issued warning letters to seven companies for illegally selling unapproved products labeled as dietary supplements that claim to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent hangovers, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The warning letters were issued to: Double Wood LLC; Ebnsol Inc.; Vita Heaven LLC (doing business as Hangover Heaven); Happy Hour Vitamins; LES Labs; Mind, Body & Coal LLC; and Purple Biosciences LLC.
“Dietary supplements that claim to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent hangovers could potentially harm consumers, especially young adults,” said Steven Tave, director of the FDA's Office of Dietary Supplement Programs. “Consumers may get the false impression that using these products can prevent or mitigate health problems caused by excessive drinking. Dietary supplements are not a substitute for responsibly limiting one’s alcohol consumption.”
Under the FD&C Act, products intended to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease are drugs and are subject to the requirements that apply to drugs. Unlike drugs approved by the FDA, there has been no FDA evaluation of whether these unapproved products are effective for their intended use, what the proper dosage might be, how they could interact with FDA-approved drugs, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.
In general, consumers should be cautious of products marketed and sold online with unproven claims to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure diseases. The FDA advises consumers to talk to their doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional before deciding to purchase or use any dietary supplement or drug. For example, some supplements might interact with medicines or other supplements. Also, if claims sound too good to be true, they probably are.
If a consumer thinks that a product might have caused a reaction or an illness, they should immediately stop using the product and contact their health care provider. The FDA also encourages health care professionals and consumers to report adverse reactions associated with FDA-regulated products to the FDA using MedWatch or the Safety Reporting Portal.
The FDA has requested responses from the companies within 15 working days stating how they will correct the violations. Failure to correct the violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure and/or injunction.