By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced its intentions of investigating whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-sized canisters called AeroShot is safe for consumers and if its manufacturer was right to brand it as a dietary supplement.
AeroShot appeared in the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and it's also available in France. Consumers put one end of the canister in their mouths and breathe in, releasing a fine powder that dissolves almost instantly. Each grey-and-yellow plastic canister contains B vitamins, plus 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, about the equivalent of the caffeine in a large cup of coffee. AeroShot inventor, Harvard biomedical engineering professor David Edwards, says the product is safe and doesn't contain taurine and other common additives used to enhance the caffeine effect in energy drinks.
AeroShot didn't require FDA review before hitting the U.S. market because it's sold as a dietary supplement. But New York's U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said he met with FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg and she agreed to review the safety and legality of AeroShot. "I am worried about how a product like this impacts kids and teens, who are particularly vulnerable to overusing a product that allows one to take hit after hit after hit, in rapid succession," Schumer said. He announced the AeroShot review Sunday.