Methylhexaneamine, the recent positives, and the larger issues

pillsMethlyhexaneamine is back in the news again, this time after 14 Indian athletes tested positive for it. This is not the first time this substance has caused a problem with positive drug tests.

Methylhexaneamine is a weak stimulant that was added to the WADA list of banned substances in 2010. It is very similar to the banned substance tuaminoheptane, which was added to the WADA list of banned substances in 2008. In 2009, five Jamaican athletes returned positive drug test results after using methyhexaneamine. Although methylhexaneamine was not banned at the time, sanctions were pursued based on the rarely invoked “and related substances” clause in the WADA rules. Methylhexaneamine is chemically similar to tuaminoheptane. It was added to the WADA banned list largely in response to this situation.

Methylhexaneamine has an interesting history. It was first trademarked under the name “Forthane’ by Eli Lilly in 1971 as a nasal decongestant. That trademark has since expired. Patrick Arnold of BALCO fame and the creator of THG and other designer steroids, was part owner of Proviant Technologies until recently. Proviant Technologies currently holds a patent on Geranamine, a synonym for methylhexaneamine. You can also find it under the synonyms Forthan, Forthane, Floradrene jack3d, DMAA, shizandol A, 1-3 dimethylamine and Geranamine. It is often used as a “party pill” in New Zealand. It is included in many dietary supplements around the world using synonyms that may not be recognizable as banned substances. Methylhexaneamine has been shown to be naturally present in geranium oil at amounts less than 1%. This natural presence is why it is argued that the drug should be allowed to be used in dietary supplements. Given all the confusion it is certainly plausible that the Indian athletes were unaware that they were taking a banned substance.

The larger issues here are why is methylhexaneamine banned in sport and still legal in dietary supplements. If it is a stimulant then it should be banned in sport but should it not also be considered a controlled substance and thus not be allowed as an ingredient in dietary supplements? If the reason it is allowed to be in dietary supplement is that the drug is present naturally in geranium oil in small amounts, then why is androstenedione not legal? Androstenedione too can be derived from plants. Anyone who takes dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals or anything in this category should be vitally interested in the question, what is actually in my dietary supplements?

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